Skip to main content
Internet Archive's 25th Anniversary Logo

Full text of "History of Channelkirk"

See other formats


History of Channelkirk 



Minister of the Parish 












The following chapters had their origin in the idea of 
"Church Defence." In 1892, an agitation became general 
throughout the Church with reference to the question of 
its Disestablishment ; and in Lauderdale, as elsewhere, its 
influence became paramount, and almost simulated a phase 
of panic. The writer ventured to believe that, as a rule, 
more harm than good is done when platform and political 
tactics are adopted to accomplish moral and spiritual ends ; 
but far from waiving responsibility in the cause of national 
religion, and convinced that the Church can only be safe 
when her principles, her work, and her character are 
respected, it seemed to him a duty to try, in his own parish, 
to effect, if possible, somewhat of this desirable result, and 
by methods which appeared to him to promise as enduring 
success as those which were then in vogue. The book is 
a humble contribution towards this purpose. True, it is 
an indirect and slow method : in the nature of things it 
must be so : but even when the immediate end to be 
compassed is chiefly conditioned by political action, an 
increa.sed public interest in a Church and Parish, sustained 
by the records of their ancient traditions, may make itself 
long felt through many channels. It is also a method to 


which local sympathies are peculiarly susceptible, for men 
of all shades of opinion and faith pay homage to the 
past ; and, at least, it is always above those irritable and 
divisive feelings which spring so disastrously from sectarian 
or denominational action pressed along the lines of party 

The writer claims no merit in the work save that of 
trying to be faithful in the collection, compilation, and 
arrangement of his materials. The narrative has grown 
from a single lecture, delivered in Oxton Schoolroom, to 
about a score of people. Approximately, one half of the 
book deals with the Church, and the other half with the 
places in the parish. It is hoped that thereby one may 
be able to gratify a particular interest without requiring to 
peruse the whole. 

The warmest gratitude is due to many kind friends who 
have, one and all, given ready and invaluable aid. It 
would be impossible, of course, to give details, but impor- 
tant help has come from Principal Story, Glasgow ; the 
late Professor Mitchell, St Andrews; Professor W. W. 
Skeat, Cambridge ; Professor T. York-Powell, Oxford ; Pro- 
fessor Mackinnon, Edinburgh ; Professor J. Rhys, Oxford ; 
Rev. Dr James Gammack, West Hartford, Connecticut, 
U.S.A.; the late Dr Hardy, Old Cambus ; William Aitken, 
Esq., retired Classical Master, Strathkinness, St Andrews; 
John Ferguson, Esq., F.S.A. Scot., Writer, Duns ; John C. 
Brodie, Esq., & Sons, W.S., Edinburgh, etc., etc. 

A special meed of praise is due the librarians and 
assistants in the Advocates' Library, the Signet Library, 
the Museum of Antiquities, and the Public Library, Edin- 
burgh ; also to those of the University Libraries of St 
Andrews, Glasgow, and Aberdeen, and the Free Library, 


Dundee. Their disinterested kindness and intelligent help- 
fulness have placed the writer under the deepest obliga- 
tions. The same falls to be said as emphatically with 
regard to the officials in H.M. Register House, Edinburgh. 
In the Historical, Record, and Teind Departments, the 
able and necessary aid, freely and ungrudgingly bestowed 
by all, can only be mentioned in terms of the heartiest 
gratitude. Earlston Presbytery, the Heritors of the Parish, 
and Lauder Magistrates, for records lent ; local authorities, 
local working-men, and others who have contributed items 
of interest regarding the people and places of the district, 
are all warmly remembered here. 

The Illustrations have been specially prepared for the 
book by the firm of Hislop & Day, Swinton Row, Edinburgh. 


Manse of Channelkirk, 
May 1900. 



Natural Agencies — Geological View of Lauderdale — Twice a 
Valley — The Leader— Prehistoric Man — Stone and Bronze 
Ages — Population of the Dale in the Second Century — 
Iberians — Goidels — Brythons — Picti — Scotti — Saxons — 
Cuthbert — Kingdom of Bemicia — War and Religion — A 
Common Faith — Lauderdale in Cuthbert's Day — Coming of 
Cuthbert to Channelkirk — Norse Names in Upper Lauderdale 
—Lauderdale in England— Parish Boundaries of Channelkirk 
— The Lords of Lauderdale, ..... 



" Channelkirk "—Theories regarding the Origin and D*erivation 

of the Name — Its Form at Various Dates — Chalmers' View 

The Irish Life of St Cuthbert— Cuthbert in Channelkirk— 

The Church Raised in Honour of the " Childe " Cuthbert 

Dryburgh Abbey Charters and the Dedication— Bishop De 
Bernham— The Priest Godfrey— Hugh de Morville as Patron 
—The Name and the Reformation— Its Local Forms, 36 





The first Charter in the Liber de Drybiirgh — The De Morville 
Family — The Patron Saint of Channelkirk — Godfrey the 
Priest and Hugo de Morville — Extent of De Morville's Estate 
in Lauderdale— Kirk Lands near Pilmuir — Lauderdale in the 
Thirteenth Century — Its Devout Men and their Gifts to 
Channelkirk Church — Gifts "In Perpetuam" — An Era of 
Bequests to Holy Mother Church — Supposed Atonement for 
National Sin — Thomas of CoUielavv — Ancient Agricultural 
Life— The Domus de Soltre and Channelkirk Church — 
Fulewithnes — Glengelt Chapel — The Veteriponts — Carfrae 
Chapel — The Sinclairs— Premonstratensian Order — Dedica- 
tion of Channelkirk Church, a.d. 1241— Then and Now, . 52 



Ecclesiastical Disputes in the Thirteenth Century— The Lauder 
Case — Struggle for Teinds — Lord Andrew Moray — Eymeric, 
Lauder Priest — Judicial Proceedings — The Pope's Sentence 
and Suspension of Eymeric— Resistance of Eymeric — Final 
Settlement Concerning the Chapel of Lauder — Channelkirk 
Church, the Mother and Parish Church of the Whole Valley 
—Triumph of Dryburgh Abbey — The "Parish" of the 
Twelfth Century — First Mention of Lauder Church — Its 
Patrons — Channelkirk Priests and Lauder — Lauder Church 
or Chapel — Its Status before the Reformation, . . .81 



Before the Reformation. 

Godfrey, the Priest — Cuthbert and the Holy Water Cleuch — The 
First Minister in Channelkirk and Lauderdale — The First 
Church — Cuthbert's Fame — Five Hundred Years of Historical 
Darkness — Channelkirk Priest in the Twelfth Century — Papal 
Taxation — King Edward I. in Lauderdale — The Priests Serv- 
ing Channelkirk and Lauder — Troublous Times — Lauder Brig 
— Moorhousland and Lauderdale — Social Life in the Fifteenth 
Century — Corruption of Church and Clergy — ^Reformation, . 106 



After the Reformation ■ ^^^^ 

Seven Years after the Reformation — Ninian Borthuik — John 
Gibsoun, Reader — Alexander Lauder — King James VI. and 
I., and Episcopacy — Famine — Allan Lundie — Francis 
Collace — Henry Cockburn — Report on Church and Parish 
in 1627 — The Teinds — Knox's Indictment against the 
Scottish Nobility — Lord Erskine — Suspension and Deposi- 
tion of Cockburn — Suffers "great miserie " — Preaches at 
Earlston — His Lawsuit — His Restoration to Channelkirk 
— His Death, ....... 135 



After the Reformation 

Professor David Liddell — Cromwell's Soldiers at Channelkirk 
— At Lauder and Bemersyde — First Glimpse of Channelkirk 
People — The Kirk Records — Divine Right of Kings, Prelacy, 
and Presbyterianism — Terror and Desolation — Divot Renova- 
tion of Kirks — Collections and Old Customs — The Lord's 
Supper — Liddell's " Laus Deo" and Promotion — Walter 
Keith — Earlston Presbytery and Prelatic Presbyterianism 
— Kirkton on Keith — WiLLlAM Arrot — Received into 
Presbyterian Communion from Prelacy — His High Character 
— Called to Montrose, . . . . . '159 



An Ecclesiastical Five Years' War — fune \6gy-Sept. 1702 

Election of Ministers, Past and Present — John Story - Charles 
Lindsay, Lord Marchmont's Nominee — The Patron or The 
People ? — The Presbytery and the Lord High Chancellor — 
John Thorburn — Case Referred to Synod — Referred to Com- 
mission of Assembly — New Elders — New Candidates — 
Presbytery Distracted — Foiled Attempt to Elect — Presbytery 
Obsequious to Lord Marchmont — William Knox— A Day of 
Decision — Heritors and Elders of Channelkirk — Election of 
Henry Home— Deplorable State of Religion — Presbytery to 
be Blamed — Culpability of Marchmont, . . . .192 





Henry Home — The Records— Lithuania— Home as a Preacher 
— Public and Domestic Troubles— Libelled by Presbytery — 
Death Decides— The Rebellion of 1745 — Cope's Halt at 
Channelkirk— Prince Charlie at Channelkirk — Church Disci- 
pline — David Scott — Church Property — Scott's Description 
of the Church— Stipend Troubles — New School — Declining 
Health and Death— Thomas Murray— Heresy Hunting- 
Recalcitrant Parishioners — Sabbath-Breaking — Becomes a 
Heritor — Stipend Troubles — Farmers in Channelkirk in 1800, 208 



Rev. John Brown — Characteristics — Stipend Troubles — Odious 
to Heritors — Litigation — Deficiencies in the Manse — Parsi- 
mony and Law-cases — Glebe Worries — Church Ruinous — 
Refuses to Preach — Church Courts — New Church — Muscular 
Christianity — Behaviour in Church — His Death — Rev. James 
Rutherford — Character— Ingenuous and Injudicial — Re- 
cords—Assistants—Portrait—Rev. James Walker— Parish 
and Presbytery Complications — Testimony of the Records- 
Resignation and Emigration— Rev. JOSEPH LowE— Student, 
Assistant, and Minister — Church Declension— Resignation, . 236 



Elders since 1650— Beadles since 1654— The Mortcloths— Salary 
—The Church— Style of Architecture— Mode of Worship 
— Kirk Bell — Rural Religion — Attendances at Church — The 
Roll — Church Patrons — The Churchyard — Consecration — 
Notable Tombstones — Resurrectionists, . . . 256 




Its "Bad Eminence" in Church Histories— In Twelfth and 
Thirteenth Centuries — Worth and Wealth of the Monks — 
Drj'burgh Abbey and the Titulars of Channelkirk — Stipend 
during the Years 1620-1900 — Heritors and Agents — Cess 
Rolls, ........ 291 


Education, Priests, Protestants, and Acts of Parliament — Knox's 
Dream — First Glimpse of Channelkirk Schoolmaster — 
Nether Howden School — Patrick Anderson — Hugh Wilson 
— Carfraemill School — Andrew Vetch — John Lang — Cess for 
Schoolmaster's Salary — Lancelot Whale — Robert Neill — 
Channelkirk School and its Furnishings in 1760 — John 
M'Dougall — Removal of School to Oxton — Nichol Dodds — 
Alexander Denholm — Alexander Davidson — Henry Marshall 
Liddell, ........ 319 


Oxton — The Name, Origin, Meaning, and History — The Proprietors 
— Oxton "Territory" — Kelso Abbey — The Abernethies — The 
Setons — Home of Hemiecleuch — Ugston and Lyleston — 
Heriots of Trabrown — The Templar Lands of Ugston — 
James Cheyne — James Achieson — Division of Ugston Lands 
— Wideopen Common — Inhabitants of Oxton — Trades in 1794 
and in 1900 — Gentry, Tradesmen, Merchants, etc., in 1825 
and in 1866 — Oxton Church — Societies, . . . 354 


THE BARONIES — continued 
The Name " Carfrae " — Ancient Boundaries of Carfrae Lands — 
The Sinclairs of Herdmanston — Serfdom at Carfrae — 
Division of Lands — The Homes — The Maitlands — The Haigs • 
of Bemersyde and Hazeldean — The Tweeddales and Carfrae 
— Tenants — Robert Hogarth — The Wights — Headshaw — 
Hemiecleuch — Hazeldean — Friarsknovves — Fairnielees — Hill- 
house — Kelphope — ToUishill, ..... 402 


THE BARONIES — continued 


Hartside, the Name — Early Proprietors — Extent of Land- 
House of Seton — Nether Hartside — Clints — Over Hartside — 
Trinity College and the Superiority of Hartside and Clints — 
The Riddells of Haining — Barony of Hartside — Hepburn of 
Humbie — Hope of Hopetoun — Henryson — Dalziel — Borth- 
wick of Crookston — Lord Tweeddale — The Original 
Hartside — Barony of Glengelt — The Name — The Veteriponts 
and Mundevilles— The Lord Borthwick— Raid of Glengelt 
— Lawless Lauderdale — Hepburn of Humbie — The Ed- 
monstons — Sleigh — Cockburn — Robertson — Mathie — 
Hunter — Borthwick of Crookston — Tenants — The Den, . 440 



The Name — Residence in 1206 — Sir Vivian de Mulineys — 
Thomas the Cleric — The Borthwicks — The Heriots — Re- 
duplication of Place-Names — The Kers of Morristoun — 
House of Binning and Byres — Fairgrieve — Adinston of 
Carcant — The Scottish Episcopal Fund — Earl of Lauderdale 
— Tenants, . . . . . . .481 


Air HO USE — Arowes, Arwys, Arus, A r rot's, Arras, Artits. 

The Name— Adam del Airwis— Strife at Arrois in 1476— The 
Hoppringles— The Heriots of Arrois— The Somervilles of 
Airhouse, 1654— "Arras, now called Airhouse," 1773— Kirk- 
Session Squabbles — Gloomy Days at Airhouse — Lord Lauder- 
dale— Situation and Area of Airhouse— Tenants — Parkfoot — 
Tenants, ........ 500 





Howden, the Name — In Oxton Territory — Kirk Land — John 
Tennent — The Heriots — The Kers of Cesford — Sir Adam 
Hepburn, Lord Humbie — John Sleigh — The Watherstones — 
The Polwarth Scotts — Justice of Justicehall — Dr Peter 
Niddrie — Situation and Area of Over' Howden — Tenants. 

Kirktonhill — The Moubrays and Pringles — Murehous — The 
Lawsons of Humbie — The Henrysons — Teind Troubles — 
The Watterstones — Captain Torrance — Robert Sheppard — 
His Peculiarities — William Patrick — Borthwick of Crookston 
— Area of Kirktonhill and Mountmill — Tenants — Redwick 
and Rauchy. 

Justicehall — Sir James Justice of Crichton — James Justice of 
Justicehall — Captain Justice — Miss Justice — Sir John 
Calender — Sir James Spittal — The " Halves " of Ugston — 
The Parkers — Situation and Area, .... 523 



Threbumeforde in 1569^ Anciently called Futhewethynis or 
Fulewithnis — Trinity College, Edinburgh — Wedaleford — 
The Three Bums — The Borthwicks' Possession — The Allans, 
Portioners — John Cumming, Minister at Humbie — Alexander 
Pierie, Writer — The Falconers of Woodcote Park — The 
Taylors — Situation and Area — Tenants. 

Nether Howden — Kirk Lands — The Kers — The Mill — 
William Murray — The Achesons — William Hunter — Charles 
Binning — Rev. Dr Webster — Lord Tweeddale — The Tenants. 

Bowerhouse — The name — Possessed by the Borthwicks — Andro 
Law — Kers of Morriestoun — Charles Binning — The Thomsons 
— Fairholm — Lord Marchmont — The Earl of Lauderdale — 
The Robertsons — Ten Rigs — Situation and Area — Tenants. 

Heriotshall from 1742 — The Two Husband Lands of Ugston 
— The Heriots — The Forty-Shilling Lands of Ugston — 
The Murrays of Wooplaw — Rev. Thomas Murray — The 
Dobsons — The Masons — Situation and Area — Tenants, . 562 





The Miller— Thirlage— The Mills of the Parish and their Sucken 
— Mill of Oxton — Proprietary — Carfrae Mill— Adam the Mill- 
knave — Carfrae Mill Inn — Tenants — Area of Farm — Wiselaw 
Mill — History and Name^Tenants, .... 594 



Shielfield — The Erskines — Over and Nether Shielfield — Kirk 
Land — Area and Situation ; Oxton Mains — Proprietors- 
Area, Situation and Tenants ; Midburn— Soil and Area ; 
Burnfoot — Carsemyres — Ugston Shotts — Tenants ; Parkfoot ; 
Braefoot ; Annfield ; Inchkeith, . . . . 614 



Sumuindnight — Venneshende — Langsyde — Channelkirk Village — 
Muirhouse — Peasmountford — Pickieston — Old Collielaw — 
The Dass — Bain's Croft — Rigside — Midlie — Southfield — 
Butterdean — Longhope — Hillhouse Dodfoot — Carfrae 
Common — Carfraegate — Upper Carfraegate — Headshaw 
Hauch — Ugston Shotts — Ten Rigs — Walker's Croft — 
Oxton Brig End — Rednick — Alderhope — Rauchy — Long- 
cleuch — Herniecleuch — Hazeldean — The King's Inch — Malt- 
Barns, ........ 629 



The Camps — at Channelkirk — at Kirktonhill— at Hillhouse — at 
Carfrae ; Carfrae Peel — Ancient Burial — Bowerhouse — Over 
Howden — Nether Howden — The Roman Road — The 
Girthgate — Resting House — Holy Water Cleuch — Stone 
Cross at Midburn — Curious Memorial Stone at Threebumford 
— The Kirk Cross and Sundial — Old Roads, . . . 639 





The Lammermoors — Skelton and Carlyle — Area of Channelkirk 
Parish — Population from 1755 — Industry' — Soil and Sheep — 
Shepherding — The Fanners and the Land — The Agricultural 
Labourer — Prices of Stock in 1490 and 1656 — The Game — 
The Weather— Our Public Men— The Railway, . . 674 


CHANNELKIRK CHURCH ... . Frontispiece 

DISTRICT AROUND OXTON VILLAGE (from THE west) Face page 354 

















































L „ 




Natural Agencies — Geological View of Lauderdale — Twice a Valley — 
The Leader — Prehistoric Man — Stone and Bronze Ages — Population 
of the Dale in the Second Century — Iberians — Goidels — Brythons — 
Picti — Scotti — Saxons — Cuthbert — Kingdom of Bernicia — War and 
Religion — A Common Faith — Lauderdale in Cuthbert's Day — Coming 
of Cuthbert to Channelkirk — Norse Names in Upper Lauderdale- 
Lauderdale in England — Parish Boundaries of Channelkirk — The 
Lords of Lauderdale. 

The history of a parish, in the most extended sense, begins 
properly, not with its people, though the study of man is 
to men the first of studies, nor with its Church or the move- 
ments of religion, but with a consideration, however brief, 
of those natural forces which through vast ages have raised 
its hills, hollowed out its plains, sent forth and directed 
its streams, given to it soil and vegetation, and modelled 
its varied area into the general geographical conformation of 
landscape which is presented to the eye of the interested 
spectator. The profound researches of the past hundred 
and thirty years have happily rendered this a task of com- 
paratively easy accomplishment. The earth as well as the 
heavens has sent forth a revelation, and the geological re- 
cord has now proved itself no mere wild speculation, but a 
veritable apprehension of truth and fact, which, though 



necessarily characterised by stupendous horizons proportionate 
to the gigantic changes effected within them, cannot hence- 
forth be deemed unworthy a place on the same lofty emin- 
ence occupied by our most sacred beliefs. The Creator, long 
before Moses' day, wrote upon tables of stone. 

When, however, we say that Channelkirk stands upon 
Lower Silurian rock, which composes generally the higher 
crests of the Lammermoor range, that Lauderdale is for the 
most part surrounded by hills of Upper Silurian composition, 
that the upper surface of the dale is of Old Red Sandstone 
lying upon a bed of Silurian, we are aware that we are 
touching upon spaces so vast and periods of time so remote 
as, for all historical purposes, to be beyond the ken of the 
boldest imagination. "The more the subject is pondered 
over," says an authority,* "the more remote does the first 
origin of the present topography become — the farther back 
are we led into the geological past, and the greater are the 
demands on our imagination in picturing to ourselves con- 
ditions of geography and forms of surface that preceded 
those which now prevail." When the Silurian rocks which 
now compose the hills of Lammermoor were being moulded 
in Nature's kneading trough, Lauderdale, like all Scotland, 
was deep under sea,-f- and though the hills on either side of 
the dale are only differentiated from the summits of Lammer- 
moor by the respective terms of Lower and Upper Silurian, 
the periods of time embraced in theij- separate formation 
must be reckoned perhaps by millions of years. We should 
also grasp but a feeble view of the actual facts did we 
imagine that Lauderdale, with its graceful outline of mountain 
steep and winding glen, rose out of the bosom of the primitive 

* Scenery of Scotland^ p. ii., Sir A. Geikie. London, 1887. 
+ Catalogue of Western Scottish Fossils^ p. 9. Glasgow, 1876. 


ocean wearing the same contour and general aspect which 
we behold to-day. There is clear evidence that it has been 
twice a level expanse and twice a valley. Our best authority 
on the question thus discourses concerning it * : " It is in- 
teresting to note that, in some instances, the existing valleys 
coincide more or less markedly with valleys that were ex- 
cavated in ancient geological times, and were subsequently 
buried under piles of debris. The depression that now forms 
the vale of Lauderdale, for example, is at least as old as the 
Upper Old Red Sandstone period. Even at that early time 
it had been worn out of the Silurian tableland. Masses of 
gravel and sand, washed down from the slopes on either 
hand, gathered on its floor. A little volcano, contempora- 
neous with the larger outbursts of the Eildon Hills and the 
Merse of Berwickshire, broke out at its upper end, but was 
at last buried under the accumulating heaps of detritus, 
which in the end filled up the valley and spread over the 
surrounding hills. In the course of later geological revolu- 
tions, this region has once more been upraised, denudation 
has been resumed, the Old Red Sandstone has been in great 
measure stripped off the hills, and at last the long hollow, 
once more exposed to the air, has again become a valley 
that gathers the drainage of the surrounding high grounds." 
The view which, it seems, we must try to comprehend, is 
that, millions of years ago, what we now know as Lammer- 
moor, Lauderdale, and Merse, was part of a vast plain com- 
posed of Lower Silurian deposit. The interior forces of the 
earth plicated this level sea-bottom so as to tilt and crumple 
and invert it in every conceivable way. Air, rain, springs, 
frost, and changes of temperature attacked these, and through 
many ages the first Lauderdale valley was formed by such 

* Scenery of Scotland^ p. 306. 


processes of disintegration, or were, as Professor Geikie puts 
it, " worn out of the Silurian tableland." Then came the time 
when over all this the conglomerates and Lower Red Sand- 
stone were placed, and the valley of Lauderdale made once 
more a level plain, to be raised subsequently to a height much 
higher than our present Lammermoor hills. Again, the 
frictional agents of the air, and the powers of heat, cold, 
and gravitation began to scoop out the valley, with the 
glens, the ravines, and the corries which we see to-day ; and 
so vast has been the denudation that nearly the entire Red 
Sandstone deposit has been scoured off the Lammermoors. 
The vale of the Leader still retains a remnant of the 
stupendous deposit, but all the hills surrounding it show 
once more the Silurian or older rocks. ' 

This, roughly, is the general conception of Lauderdale 
which geology gives to us. It is evident that the Leader 
water, in all its ramifications, has been the principal architect 
in laying down the direction of the dale, rounding the sombre 
summits of the hills, curving the hollows, planing the crests 
of the knolls, and slowly grooving through a bewildering 
period, the lovely vale to which it has given both name 
and character. The present river is as old, at least, as the 
Old Red Sandstone period. From what has been said it will 
be seen that the Lauderdale rocks are nearly all of aqueous 
formation. Notable exceptions, however, are found in Earl- 
ston Black Hill, and the hill north-east of Lauder between 
Earnscleuch and Blythe waters. These are known as trap hills 
of the species of felspar porphyry.* They are the chief excep- 
tions to the almost unvarying graywacke and Old Red Sand- 
stone rocks. The former consists generally of an aluminous 

* See Bartholomew & Co.'s Geological Map of Scotland, 1892, and Milne's 
"Geology of Berwickshire" in Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural 
Society, vol. xi., 1837. 


or argillaceous sandstone, sometimes of a reddish-brown, but 
for most part of a light greenish-blue colour. The gray- 
vvacke strata are almost vertical throughout, running about 
due east and west. Verification of this can be proved at 
Soutra, Dodd's Mill, and Earlston. They seem to be, in 
this district, entirely destitute of organic fossil remains ; but 
it appears * " a few specimens of graptolites have been found 
near Kelphope," and it is possible that many more may exist, 
as neither Lauderdale nor the Lammermoors have been 
exhaustively explored in this respect. 

The Old Red Sandstone rocks completely fill the dale 
from side to side, running up into the various glens and lap- 
ping the sides of the Silurian hills like waves that had dashed 
up the valley and been fixed ere they could again recede. 
The village of Oxton, for example, stands on Old Red Sand- 
stone, and the whole of Airhouse estate is, generally speak- 
ing, composed of this kind of rock. Wherever there is a 
hollow in the parish, especially on the edges of the dale, it 
is almost certain to be filled with Old Red Sandstone, while 
the heights surrounding such a hollow are as likely to be of 
graywacke. The Old Red Sandstone generally rests on a bed 
of conglomerate which is visible nearly all through Channel- 
kirk parish in the bed of the Leader, and again from the 
neighbourhood opposite Trabrown, southwards almost to 
Carolside. Evidences of it are also seen in the Boon water, 
and that of Earnscleuch. There are few fossils of any organic 
remains in the Upper Old Red Sandstone. 

It is needless to say that at this period to which reference 
has been made man had not come upon the earth. Countless 
ages must have intervened before human history became 
possible in Lauderdale, and numberless geological changes 

* James Wilson, Editor, Galashiels. 


must also have visited the scene which now looks so peaceful 
and habitable and familiar to Borderers, In process of 
time, however, the solitary rule of natural forces became 
varied by human life, with all its marvellous latencies of 
progressive industry, civilised government, and exalted con- 
sciousness of immortality. Slowly the human brute began 
to apply his savage ingenuity to the capture of his prey, 
the destruction of his enemy, and the grinding of his food, 
and what we know as the Stone Age dawned upon the world. 
Early man discovered that instead of tracking his quarry to 
the earth by speed of foot, the well-directed flint arrow 
might as well serve his purpose. His foe abroad, and his 
family at home, experienced in a similar way this battle of 
the brain against resisting circumstances. In Lauderdale, 
this phase of mortal existence, as marked by both the Stone 
and Bronze Ages, has left a few traces of its presence. Stone 
and bronze axes, stone hammers, flint knives, flint arrow- 
heads, flint scrapers, bronze ingots, bronze bridle-bits, and 
such like found at Hillhouse, Over Howden, Bowerhouse, 
Longcroft, Lauder, Lauder Moor, and Earlston, attest the 
presence of aboriginal man on the banks of the Leader. 
From the fact also that these specimens are generally in 
Channelkirk parish found comparatively high up on the slop- 
ing sides of the dale, it seems a just inference that these 
implements were used at a remote date when the waters of 
the Leader flowed at that altitude, and had not eroded them- 
selves down to their present level. This consideration, of 
itself, conveys a fair conception of the immense lapse of time 
that has transpired since man first found a home beneath 
the shadow of the Lammermoors. 

It is with a sense of relief that in the second century of 
the Christian era we find ourselves within the purview of 


historical human life, and see on even these far horizons the 
Celtic tribe of the Otadini populating broad territory, what 
is now Berwickshire and East Lothian, and consequently 
the vale of the Leader ; and bequeathing to us, as seems 
worthy of all credence, not only the name of the river by 
which Lauderdale is known, but many a place-name and 
river-name on both sides of the Lammermoor range. 

This people come before us originally, about 120 A.D., in 
the great work of the Roman geographer, Ptolemy, in which 
he curiously delineates the coasts of Scotland, marks the 
position of towns, describes the tribes in the interior, and 
denotes them by their names. Dr W. F. Skene and Professor 
Rhys have treated -the subject so fully and learnedly that 
to follow them is to obtain the clearest light possible on 
these " dreary wastes of the past." The former says * : 
" A line drawn from the Solway Firth across the island to 
the eastern sea exactly separates the great nation of the 
Brigantes from the tribes on the north ; but this is obviously 
an artificial line of separation, as it closely follows the course 
of the Roman wall, shortly before constructed by the Emperor 
Hadrian, otherwise it would imply that the southern boundary 
of three barbarian tribes was precisely on the same line 
where nature presents no physical line of demarcation. 
There is on other grounds reason to think that these tribes, 
though apparently separated from the Brigantes by this 
artificial line, in reality formed part of that great nation. 
These tribes were the Otalini or Otadeni and Gadeni, ex- 
tending along the east coast from the Roman wall to the 
Firth of Forth." The Brigantes nation seem to have been 
a powerful one, and their name, says Rhys,-f- " would seem to 
have meant the free men or privileged race, as contrasted 

* Celtic Scotland, vol. i., p. 71. f Celtic Britain, p. 283. 


with the Goidelic inhabitants." From the Brigantian people, 
it appears, who for most part north of the Cheviots were 
Otadeni, was derived the name Bernicii^ the Latin form of 
the name known to Bede ; which became, when used to de- 
nominate their country, Bernicia, the northern part of the 
kingdom of Northumbria in the seventh century or, roughly 
speaking, Berwickshire and East Lothian. The Otadeni were 
Brythons, or those who spoke the language of the people 
of Wales and the Bretons,* as distinguished from those who 
spoke the Gaelic of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands.-f* 
" They disappeared early, their country having been seized 
in part by the Picts from the other side of the Forth, and 
in part by the Germanic invaders from beyond the sea." 

Briefly, the peoples who are reputed to have inhabited 
Lauderdale from a considerable time beyond the Christian 
era, were, first : — 

The non-Celtic race that preceded the Goidels or Gaels 
and Brythons, who conquered it and probably enslaved it.J 
This race is by some called " Iberian " or " Basque," but 
there is some dubiety concerning this view. Professor Rhys§ 
believes that " Ivernian " would be a safer designation, and 
that it might be applied || "to the non-Celtic natives of Britain 
as well as of the sister island." That this non-Celtic race, 
by whatever name known,^! " spread over the whole of both 
of the British Isles," there appears to be little reason to doubt, 
as well from the expressed convictions of several ancient 
writers, as from an examination of prehistoric sepulchral 
remains. They are differentiated from succeeding races by 
their long cranial development, numerous skulls of this type 

* Celtic Britain, p. 3. f Ibid., p. 222. 

X Celtic Scotland, i., 164., "Origin of the Aryans," p. 92-101, Dr Isaac Taylor. 

§ Celtic Britain, p. 265. || Ibid., p. 266, IT Celtic Scotland, vol. i., p. 169. 


being found in long barrows and chambered gallery graves 
in our country. They were a people that frequented caves, 
and buried their dead in them, and used stone implements. 

Second, the Celts, who may have come at two distinct 
periods.* "The Goidels" (Gaels) "were undoubtedly the 
first Celts to come to Britain." "They had probably 
been in the island for centuries when the Brythons, or Gauls, 
came and drove them westward." The Iberians were dis- 
placed or enslaved by the Gaels, and the Gaels in turn were 
subdued or routed by a branch of their own Celtic race, the 
Brythons.f It is these last that Caesar is supposed to have 
seen and described. According to him, and writers such as 
Strabo, Tacitus, and Pomponius Mela, they were expert 
fighters, combining celerity with weight in their attacks, and 
the quick movements of cavalry with the compactness of 
infantry. They were adepts in the management of the 
chariot and hurling the dart. They stained themselves blue 
with woad, and were horrible in appearance. The hair was 
worn flowing, and they were clean shaven except the upper 
lip and the head. Parties of ten or twelve had wives in 
common. The tribes, under rule of kings, or say patriarchal 
chiefs, were continually at war one with the other. Their 
idea of a town or fortress was an enclosure with a tangled 
wood surrounding it, protected by a rampart and ditch. 
They built their huts inside this defence, and collected also 
their cattle there, but not for purposes of permanent, but 
only temporary, residence. 

Third, the Brythons were in turn conquered by the Picts, 
who were of the Celtic branch known as Gaels. | They 
superseded the Brythonic Otadini, and formed the population 
of the Otadini district during the fifth and sixth centuries. 

* Celtic Britain^ p. 4. t Und., p. 53. % Celtic Scotland^ vol. i., p. 2 18. 


Doubtless the Otadini would be partly exterminated and 
partly enslaved, according to the usual customs of barbaric 
war. Speaking of the Picti, Picts, or painted men, as applied 
to the nations beyond the Northern Wall, and of the people 
on the Solway called Atecotti who were probably included 
in the same name, Rhys says, " Now, all these Picts were 
natives of Britain,* and the word Picti is found applied to 
them for the first time, in a panegyric by Eumenius, in the 
year 296 ; but in the year 360 another painted people ap- 
peared on the scene. They came from Ireland, and to dis- 
tinguish these two sets of painted foes from one another, Latin 
historians left the painted natives to be called Picti, as had 
been the custom before, and for the painted invaders from 
Ireland they retained, untranslated, a Celtic word of the 
same (or nearly the same) meaning, namely, Scotti. Neither 
the Picts nor the Scotti probably owned these names, the 
former of which is to be traced to Roman authors, while the 
latter was probably given the invaders from Ireland by the 
Brythons, whose country they crossed the sea to ravage." 

Gildas writing, it is assumed, in the sixth century, gives 
us a sad account of the state of the country under the 
attacks of Picts and Scots.*|- He says the Brythons were 
forced to crave help from the Romans to expel them.| They 
were oppressed and enslaved under nameless tortures. But 
when the Romans had left, never more to return, the Picts 
and Scots came again in their canoes,§ " differing one from 
another in manners, but inspired with the same avidity for 
blood, and all the more eager to shroud their villainous faces 
in bushy hair than to cover with decent clothing those parts 
of their body which required it." He seems to point directly 

* Celtic Britain, p. 238. 

t Six Old English Chronicles, Dr Giles, 1896. J Sec. 15. § Sec. 19. 


to the district of which Berwickshire is now a part, when he 
further says, " Moreover, having heard of the departure of 
our friends " (viz., the Romans), " and their resolution never 
to return, they seized with greater boldness than before on all 
the country towards the extreme north as far as the Wall." 
Dr Skene says,* " this probably refers to the districts after- 
wards comprised under the general name of ' Lodonea,' or 
Lothian, in its extended sense, comprising the counties of 
Berwick, Roxburgh, and the Lothians." 

Nothing, according to Gildas, could equal the horrors of 
the time. The Brythons he despises, yet deeply pities as 
sheep eaten up of wolves. They took to the heights and 
garrisoned them with men, who, he says sarcastically, were 
slow to fight, and hardly fit to run away. He pictures them 
(and the scenes may have been all exampled on the " camp " 
heights of Lauderdale), as sleeping on their watch, so useless 
were they, and the wily enemy stealing up the slopes to hook 
them off the walls, and dash them to death on the ground. 
However, he consoles himself, it saved them from seeing the 
horrors that overtook their brothers and sisters. Unrelent- 
ing, remorseless cruelty reigned over all. They were 
butchered like sheep, " so that their habitations were like 
those of savage beasts." The whole country was rent also 
by internal feuds, and provisions could not be procured. 
They sent in despair to the Romans for assistance. "The 
barbarians drive us to the sea ; the sea throws us back on 
the barbarians." But the Romans could not help ; and so 
the discomfited people wandered among mountains, in caves 
and in the woods, a homeless life, with persecution, famine, 
and torture lurking in ambush for them. But the cup of 
their anguish was not yet full. When they were unequal to 

* Celtic Scotlatid, vol. i., p. 131. 


repelling the barbarian Picts and Scots, and could find no 
hope in Roman interference, they took counsel and resolved 
to invite the Saxons to their aid. This policy sealed their 

Fourth, the barbarian Saxons were "a race hateful both 
to God and men,"* impious and fierce. From being pro- 
fessedly friends, the Saxons soon became exacting and 
aggressive in their demands. Open rupture followed, and 
the entire realm, which now we name Scotland, became an 
arena of contending peoples. The Brythons, the Picts, the 
Scots, and Angles engaged in open struggle for the mastery. 
From the circumstance of the Lothians being central ground 
lying between Pictland north of the Forth, and the land of 
the Brythons south of it, with the Scotti breaking in from 
Ireland on the east coast, and the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes 
pressing from the south, we may reasonably infer that the 
forces of war raged across Berwickshire interminably during 
this clashing of these races throughout the latter half of the 
fifth century. It is at this period, however, that the great 
personality of Arthur moves across the historic stage as 
championing the cause of the oppressed Brythons against 
the Saxons, and that tradition sees him so near the confines 
of Upper Lauderdale as the vale of the Gala, victorious over 
his foes, in the fastnesses of Guinnion, and working such ruin 
among the Anglic forces there as to perpetuate their disaster 
in the name of Wedale. 

A hundred years before Cuthbert is said to have been 
brought to Channelkirk, Lowland Scotland was thus the 
stormy theatre of those illustrious deeds which in later ages 
fascinated the highest genius. It was in 537, at the battle of 
Camlan, that the Lothian Medrand slew in battle the heroic 

* Gildas, Sec. 23. 


Arthur, and so to all appearance neutralised the advantages 
which ha!d been achieved by that warrior's victories from Loch 
Lomond to the Lammermoors. And when that strong arm 
could no longer resist the aggressive intruders, and the 
kingdom was not yet fated to be consolidated under one 
crown, his triumphant opponents were then free to portion 
out the land as they listed. The boundaries of the kingdom 
of Bernicia came into existence under Ida, its first king, in 
the year 547, and extended from the Tees to the Forth, 
thus embracing what is now Berwickshire ; and as a conse- 
quence, Lauderdale thus early was put under the domination 
of the Angles. Twelve years later, in 559, this kingdom 
seems to have been submerged as a province within the 
greater kingdom of Northumbria, which stretched from the 
Forth to the H umber, and which as one regal organisation 
held sway over all that district with substantial appearance 
of unified power. Such changes do not happen without 
great bloodshed and terrible sufferings among the common 
people. Serfdom in its fiercest forms must have prevailed 
throughout all the conquered districts, if the wretched people, 
indeed, were always fortunate to escape total extermination. 
As the restraints of war were then limited only by the 
appetites of the conquerors, and the Saxon nature was then 
but in its semi-savage development, the condition of life of 
the people who then inhabited Lauderdale under the Anglic 
government can be better imagined than described. But, 
as might be expected, the Saxon did not retain his spoils un- 
challenged. The Britons of Strathclyde, the boundaries of 
which, on its eastern side, ran down from the Lammermoor 
Hills by Gala Water to the Pennine Range, were incessant 
in their attacks upon them, as were also the Scots of Dal- 
riada, and it was not till the great battle of Degsastane, in 


603, that the mastery was decisively declared for the Angles. 
This battle decided much and was fateful for the future. 
It is described in the following account *: " Bede tells us 
that Aidan came against Aedilfrid with a large and powerful 
army. It consisted, no doubt, of a combined force of Scots 
and Britons, at whose head Aidan was placed as Guledic, and 
he appears also to have had the aid of Irish Picts. He 
advanced against the Bernician kingdom, and entered 
Aedilfrid's territories by the vale of the Liddel, from the 
upper end of which a pass opens to the vale of the Teviot, 
and another to that of North Tyne. The great rampart 
called the Catrail, which separated the Anglic kingdom from 
that of the Strathclyde Britons, crosses the upper part of the 
vale of the Liddel. Its remains appear at Dawstaneburn, 
whence it goes on to Dawstanerig, and here, before he could 
cross the mountain range which separates Liddesdale from 
these valleys, Aidan was encountered by Aedilfrid and com- 
pletely defeated, his army being cut to pieces at a place 
called by Bede ' Degsastan,' in which we can recognise the 
name of Dawstane, still known there. Bede adds that this 
battle was fought in the year 603, and the eleventh year of 
the reign of Aedilfrid, which lasted for twenty-four years, and 
that from this time forth till his own day (that is, till 731), 
none of the kings of the Scots ventured to come in battle 
against the nation of the Angles ; and thus terminated the 
contest between these tribes for the possession of the 
northern province, substantially in favour of the latter 
people, who, under Aedilfrid, now retained possession of 
the eastern districts from the Humber to the Firth of Forth, 
as far west as the river Esk." 

When we remember that religion and war, beyond all 

* Celtic Scotland^ vol. i., p. 162, 


other influences, have, in all ages, swayed the destinies of 
nations, we are not surprised to find these powerful elements 
in the ascendant at this early stage of Scotland's develop- 
ment. And while the forces of battle were thus forging 
into shape the four kingdoms of the Picts, the Scots, the 
Britons, and the Angles, the moral powers were not less 
industrious in changing the wide realms of superstition and 
pagan belief into those of spiritual enlightenment and 
Christian faith. As of old, when the chaos of nature obeyed 
the divine order which marshalled all into use and beauty, 
so while armies raged around boundaries and territorial 
sovereignty, the voices of the Christian missionaries were 
heard above the storm, directing the path of kings and 
peoples towards a loftier civilisation and a nobler humanity. 
It is true that both political and moral movements expanded 
far beyond the district which is our immediate concern in 
this place, but as the motions of the smallest planet are only 
understood when their relations to the solar system are 
comprehended, so it seems to us that the condition of 
Lauderdale when Cuthbert first crossed its boundaries can 
only be grasped when we have sufHciently realised the state 
of the country at large. 

Only four years before Northumbria had formed itself 
into the kingdom of that name under King Ida, and Lauder- 
dale had thus become not only a part of Bernicia but of the 
Northumbrian dominion which included it, Columba, of re- 
nowned memory, was leaving the shores of Ireland to carry 
the Christian Evangel to the benighted regions of the 
Western Isles of Scotland. " In the year 563," says 
Adamnan, "and in the forty-second of his age, Columba, 
resolving to seek a foreign country for the love of Christ, 
sailed from Scotia, or Ireland, to Britain." With his presence 


and influence, the whole north of Pictland soon underwent a 
speedy transformation. Only two years elapsed before he 
had converted King Brude, the monarch of the northern 
Picts. And consonant with the religious modes of national 
conversion of those days, the enlightenment of the king was 
the sign to the people to conform to the same belief 
Columba's power was as effective as it was comprehensive. 
The north and west soon stood subservient to his will. On 
the river Ness he directs one king and creates another at 
lona. Brude and Aidan .seem to have been deeply devoted 
to the interests which Columba had at heart, and while the 
one approves and assists at the founding of monasteries and 
the spread of the Gospel, the other girds on his armour, as 
we have seen at Dawstane, to expel the pagan and infidel 
Angles of Northumbria, And although the latter remained 
conquerors in arms in that great encounter, the power of 
Christian truth was greater than the force of war, for 
Northumbria also, as well as the north and the west, fell to the 
Christian religion not long afterwards. This notable event 
occurred in 627. The probable birth-year of St Cuthbert has 
been placed by one of the best authorities in the year 626, 
so that the future Apostle of Southern Scotland and Patron 
Saint of Channelkirk would be just a twelvemonth old when, 
for the first time, the whole of what we now call Scotland 
professedly confessed the sway of the Christian religion. 
This result was mainly brought to pass by the conversion of 
King Edwin of Northumbria, whom Paulinus, ably supported 
by the queen and the urgent counsels of Pope Boniface, 
brought to a knowledge and confession of the faith. " King 
Edwin,* therefore, with all the nobility of the nation and a 
large number of the common sort, received the faith and the 

* Bede's Ecclesiastical History, chap. xiv. 


washing of regeneration in the eleventh year of his reign, 
which is the year of the incarnation of our Lord 627, and 
about one hundred and eighty after the coming of the English 
into Britain." Bede further says, " So great was then the 
fervour of the faith, as is reported, and the desire of the 
washing of salvation among the nation of the Northumbrians, 
that Paulinus, at a certain coming with the king and queen 
to the royal country-seat, which is called Adgefrin (Yeverin 
in Glendale, near Wooler, Northumberland), stayed there 
with them thirty-six days, fully occupied in catechising and 
baptising ; during which days, from morning till night, he 
did nothing else but instruct the people resorting from all 
villages and places." 

So that Cuthbert comes into a most crucial and exciting 
crisis in the history of the district, when the crude and half 
barbarous masses of population on both sides of the Cheviots 
were being disciplined to nationality and central government, 
and to follow with docility and ardour the spiritual instruction 
of Christian bishops and their ecclesiastical methods. It 
indicates the dawn of a new era for the country. For, not- 
withstanding the relapse into paganism which shortly after- 
wards took place under the powerful Penda, Christianity 
revived once more in Northumbria, all the more assured' 
perhaps, from its being buttressed by the new King Oswald 
and the Columban Church. " The short-lived Church of 
Paulinus," says Skene,* " could not have had much permanent 
effect in leavening these Anglic tribes with Christianity." 
Enlightenment came from the North and not from the 
South. " It is to the Columban Church, established in 
Northumbria by King Oswald in 635, that we must look for 
the permanent conversion of the Angles who occupied the 

• Celtic Scotland, vol. i., p. igg. 



eastern districts between the Tweed and the Forth," that 
is, the districts which now comprise Berwickshire and East 

The changes which were thus being effected by royal 
and religious influences when we first discern the presence 
of Cuthbert in Lauderdale, were, as clearly appears, of the 
highest importance to the land, and proved themselves the 
foundation structure upon which the nation of future Scot- 
land was to be firmly built. So early as 635, the four 
kingdoms of the Picts, Scots, Britons, and Angles were as 
clearly defined as are the four provinces of Ireland to-day, 
each enjoying and obeying its central authority, and obtain- 
ing within that central government protection and a measure 
of prosperity. But the chief bond of cohesion seems to 
have lain in the firm basis of a common faith which the 
Christian religion now afforded them. Gibbon emphasises 
the British " love of freedom without the spirit of union " 
(vol. i., p. 19), but it surely marked a great advance when 
the whole country held one common form of worship. From 
the Cheviots to the Orkneys Christianity reigned supreme. 
Pagan darkness might linger for a while over the hearts of 
men, even as heavy mists linger along deep valleys till the 
sun has risen high enough to dispel them, but the gospel 
had brought a fuller day, and everywhere its vitalising 
strength increased as the centuries rolled onwards. But as 
yet, speaking generally, only the mountain peaks had caught 
its light. The kings and leaders of the people first felt its 
influences and yielded to its attractions. Many decades 
indeed were to pass by ere the lower levels, the humbler 
masses of the people, were to own with the same full intelli- 
gence the new principles of life which Columba had scattered 
over the land. It was this important work among the body 


of the people which fell to the care of such as Cuthbert, and 
in this labour of patience and love history shows him as 
eminently successful, as well as a conspicuous example of 
the Christian teacher and saint. 

It were perhaps a bootless task to endeavour to realise 
the aspect of Lauderdale in the seventh century as far as 
concerns its topography and general appearance of landscape. 
Still the district as Cuthbert then saw it must have been, 
in its main features, very similar to what it is to-day. The 
permanency of the hills and valleys, glens, ravines, and 
correis, climate and seasons, may pass unquestioned, and the 
only difference in the aspect of scenery must be found in 
the prevalence of open field or forest which might then 
obtain. In the earlier centuries Roman writers depict 
the Briton as living by very primitive methods. " Forests 
are their cities," says one ; " for having enclosed an ample 
space with felled trees, here they make themselves huts 
and lodge their cattle." * It is perhaps safe to say that 
forest more or less abounded over all the district between 
the Forth and the Cheviots. This seems to have been the 
case, at least, through several centuries later. The birch 
tree, the ash, the rowan seem indigenous to the soil, and 
would quickly clothe the hill-sides with dense wood ; while 
the juniper, the whin, the willow, and the broom would spread 
thickly over the intervening spaces. But woody land is 
invariably moist and rains are frequent, and we can imagine 
that such a valley as Lauderdale, with so many rivulets, 
brooks, and " waters " pouring into the Leader from the sur- 
rounding hills, would in those days often present a wild 
watery scene of tumbling floods the whole breadth of its 
planular area. The fact of Cuthbert having been engaged 

♦ Strabo, Book IV. 


under a master as shepherd seems, on the other hand, to 
point to cleared ground for the purposes of pasturage. But 
where the mode of Hfe was perilous, and the appeal to arms 
perpetual, and marauding doubtless common, the flocks 
perhaps were few in number, and would have more need 
of protection from the wild denizens of the woods than 
of wide spaces over which to range. Cuthbert, we are told, 
was with other shepherds when he saw his vision, and this 
combination, together with the circumstance of tending his 
sheep by night, seem to give this surmise some confirmation. 
The peaceful character attached to pastoral life, which in 
general prevails amongst us now, cannot help us in forming 
a conception of the same life in Northumbria in the seventh 
century. When Cuthbert goes to Mailros Abbey to throw 
in his lot with its pious inmates he has neither the aspect 
of a shepherd nor the appearance of a monk. He is seated 
on horseback and has a spear in his hand, as if all who 
went abroad in those days either through Lauderdale or 
beyond it must have possessed both means of speed to fly 
from, and weapons to resist, imminent dangers. The over- 
ruling Saxon and the newly subdued natives were not likely 
to possess a deep affection for each other where tyranny 
balanced the social scale on one side and serfdom on the 
other. Private feuds would be common, and murder and 
secret revenge and plunder the daily features of life along 
the district of the Leader. Sheep and cattle would be pre- 
cariously maintained to no greater an extent perhaps than 
to serve the mere necessities of diet and common comfort. 
The character of the conquering people did not insure a 
much higher state of civilisation. The Saxon was by nature a 
pirate on sea and a robber on land. " They left," says one,* 

* Taine's English Literature^ vol. i., p. 42. 


" the care of the land and flocks to the women and slaves ; 
seafaring, war, and pillage was their whole idea of a free- 
man's work." Even in the seventh century he must have 
looked upon Britain not so much as his home as an Ali 
Baba's cave of plunder. The main characteristics of the 
ruling tribe with whom Cuthbert came into contact were 
well marked and unmistakable. We are told Jthat their 
seizure of Britain did not refine them, but rather the reverse. 
They are found there, according to Taine * " more gluttonous, 
carving their hogs, filling themselves with flesh, swallowing 
down deep draughts of mead, ale, spiced wines, all the strong, 
coarse drinks which they can procure, and so are they 
cheered 9.nd stimulated." As contrasted with Romans who 
had also met and subjugated the Briton, they "are large, 
gross beasts, clumsy and ridiculous when not dangerous and 
enraged." These features were not effaced by a thousand 
years of civilisation ; then " imagine what he must have been 
when, landing with his band upon a wasted or desert country, 
and becoming for the first time a settler, he saw extending to 
the horizon the common pastures of the border country, and 
the great primitive forests which furnished stags for the chase 
and acorns for his pigs." But though he could kill himself 
in order that he might die as he had lived, in blood, he 
was not deficient in high moral conceptions. Marriage was 
pure among them. A woman was sacred. No society has 
ever been built up on a better basis than that for which the 
Saxon nature provided material. Moral beauty he acknow- 
ledged as a guide, and reverenced it even when wallowing 
in physical excess. "This kind of naked brute, who lies 
all day by his fireside, sluggish and dirty, always eating and 
drinking, whose rusty faculties cannot follow the clear and 

* English Literature, vol. i., p. 44. 


fine outlines of happily created poetic forms, catches a 
glimpse of the sublime in his troubled dreams." This mystic 
touch in his constitution predisposed him to Christianity and 
rendered the preaching of the monks an easy task. Its 
love and terror, pathos and sublimity, its lofty disregard of 
pain and death, and the magnificence of its hope and future 
inheritance, were sure to find ready acceptance among a 
race whose temperament seemed compounded of angel and 
demon, hero and beast, and to whom the eternal world was 
as awful and alluring as the ocean whose storms they braved, 
or the land-spoils they captured at the peril of their lives. 
The religion of the cross was first taught them, it seems, by 
the Roman Paulinus, who sallied forth among them from 
York. But the Columban Church, more aggressive from the 
north and west, and having a ready-made disciple in King 
Oswald, built up the Christian faith on a more lasting 
foundation, and ultimately gave the death blow to Saxon 

These brief notes on the condition of the sixth century and 
the beginning of the seventh are, of course, meant chiefly to 
illustrate the personality and character of Cuthbert himself, 
and to help us to realise somewhat his position in Lauderdale 
and at Channelkirk at that early period. Cuthbert's life 
and work have been written of exhaustively, but the points 
questioned are numerous. This, of course, does not wholly 
surprise us. No spot of history, sacred or profane, is abso- 
lutely free from suspicion, but it would seem that those parts 
which refer to Cuthbert's early days are destined to go 
down to all time under the menace of interrogations. Writers 
on the subject appear to divide themselves into two groups — 
the ecclesiastical, and the laic. The Bollandists, Archbishop 
Eyre, Bishop Dowden, to take a few from the one side, doubt 


the account which the Libellus de ortu S. Cuthberti, or, The 
Irish Life, gives of his birth and boyhood ; and Green, Raine, 
and Skene, to take a counter number from the other side, 
lean to its probabilities as far as it is possible for human 
credulity to go. We shall not attempt to give any decision 
where so many learned minds disagree, but content ourselves 
with following in the footsteps of those who are universally 
accredited as being the best authorities. We cull the following 
extracts from Skene's great work, Celtic Scotland* the better 
to enable the reader to grasp the salient features in the history 
of our Patron Saint, as well as to give in his own words an 
account which is admitted to be unbiassed. 

" If the great name in the Cumbrian Church was that of 
Kentigern, that which left its greatest impress in Lothian, and 
one with which the monastery of Mailros was peculiarly con- 
nected, was that of Cudberct, popularly called Saint Cuthbert. 
Several lives of him have come down to us ; but undoubtedly 
the one which, from its antiquity, is most deserving of credit, 
is that by the venerable Bede." " Bede, too, was born in the 
lifetime of the saint whose life he records, and must have been 
about thirteen years old when he died." " Bede tells us 
nothing of the birth and parentage of Cudberct ; and though 
he relates an incident which occurred when the saint was in 
his eighth year, and which he says Bishop Trumuini, of 
blessed memory, affirmed that Cudberct had himself told him, 
he does not indicate where or in what country he had passed 
his boyhood. When he first connects Cudberct with any 
locality, he says that * he was keeping watch over the flocks 
committed to his charge on some remote mountains.' These 
mountains, however, were the southern slope of the Lammer- 
moors, which surround the upper part of the vale of the 

* Book II., p. 201. 


Leader, in Berwickshire ; for the anonymous history of Saint 
Cuthbert, which, next to his Life by Bede, has the greatest 
value, says that 'he was watching over the flocks of his 
master in the mountains near the river Leder.' There 'on 
a certain night, when he was extending his long vigils in 
prayers, as was his wont,' which shows the bent of his mind 
towards a religious life, he had a vision in which he saw the 
soul of Bishop Aidan of Lindisfarne being carried to heaven 
by choirs of the heavenly host ; and resolved in consequence 
to enter a monastery and put himself under monastic disci- 
pline." " Thus Cudberct became a monk of the Monastery of 
Melrose. As Bishop Aidan died in the year 651, this gives 
us the first certain date in his life." 

" The only Life which professes to give his earlier history 
is ' The Book of the Nativity of Saint Cuthbert, taken and 
translated from the Irish.' According to this Life, Cuthbert 
was born in Ireland, of royal extraction. His mother, 
Sabina, daughter of the king who reigned in the city called 
Lainestri, was taken captive by the King of Connathe, who 
slew her father and all her family. He afterwards violated 
her, and then sent her to his own mother, who adopted her, 
and, together with her, entered a monastery of virgins which 
was then under the care of a bishop. There Sabina gave 
birth to the boy Cuthbert, and the bishop baptized him, 
giving him the Irish name of Mullucc. He is said to have 
been born in ' Kenanus ' or Kells, a monastery said to have 
been founded by Columba on the death of the bishop who 
had educated him. His mother goes with him to Britain by 
the usual mode of transit in these legends, that is, by a stone, 
which miraculously performs the functions of a curach, and 
they, land in ' Galweia, in that region called Rennii, in the 
harbour of Rintsnoc,' no doubt Portpatrick in the Rinns of 


Galloway." " They then go to the island which is called Hy, 
or lona, where they remain some time with the religious men 
of that place. Then they visit two brothers-german of the 
mother, Meldanus and Eatanus, who were bishops in the 
province of the Scots, in which each had an episcopal seat, 
and these take the boy and place him under the care of a 
certain religious man in Lothian, while the mother goes on 
a pilgrimage to Rome. In this place in Lothian a church 
was afterwards erected in his honour, which is to this day 
called Childeschirche, and here the book of the nativity of 
St Cuthbert, taken from the Irish histories, terminates. 
Childeschirche is the old name of the parish now called 
Channelkirk, in the upper part of the vale of the Leader ; and 
the Irish Life thus lands him where Bede takes him up." 

" It is certainly remarkable that Bede gives no indication 
of Cudberct's nationality. He must surely have known 
whether he was of Irish descent or not. He is himself far too 
candid and honest a historian not to have stated the fact if it 
was so, and it is difficult to avoid the suspicion that this part 
of his narrative was one of those portions which he had ex- 
punged at the instance of the critics to whom he had sub- 
mitted his manuscript. Unfortunately, Bede nowhere gives 
us Cudberct's age. He elsewhere calls him at this time a 
young man, and he says that his life had reached to old age." 

" Cudberct resigned his bishopric in 686, and died in 687. 
He could hardly have been under sixty at that time, and 
it was probably on his attaining that age that he with- 
drew from active life. This would place his birth in the year 
626, and make him twenty-five when he joined the monastery 
at Mailr6s. The Irish Life appears to have been recognised 
by the monks of Durham as early as the fourteenth century, 
and it is perfectly possible that these events may have taken 


place before Bede takes up his history, though they are 
characterised by the usual anachronisms." " The truth may 
possibly be that he was the son of an Irish kinglet by an 
Anglic mother ; and this would account for her coming to 
Britain with the boy, and his being placed under a master in 
the vale of the Leader." 

It is unnecessary to follow further the great work of the 
apostle of Southern Scotland. What Columban lona was 
to the inhabitants of the lands north of Forth, so almost was 
the Lindisfarne establishment of St Cuthbert to the Lothians 
and the north of England.* All the churches of Bernicia from 
Tyne to Tweed, and of Deira from Tyne to the Humber, 
had their origin from the monastery of Lindisfarne, or 
Holy Island.*!* We know from the " Coaevus Monachus," who 
wrote a life of Cuthbert, and Bede, who has put his life into 
both prose and poetry, that during his stay in Mailros,| " he 
was wont chiefly to resort to those places, and preach in such 
villages, as being seated high up amid craggy, uncouth 
mountains, were frightful to others to behold, and whose 
poverty and barbarity rendered them inaccessible to other 
teachers." There is in all probability a reference here to the 
district of Upper Lauderdale with which he was so well 
acquainted as boy and shepherd. The region was " frightful 
to others ": they were unacquainted with its wild and barbarous 
inhabitants ; but to Cuthbert place and people were familiar, 
and there he had often passed nights of prayer ; and to stay 
among them for weeks together, as Bede tells us he did, was 
but to renew former experiences, and sustain his former 
character for piety and zealous propagation of holy religion. 
The story of his subsequent life and death, and the weird 

* Burton, vol. i., p. 275. fBede's Ecclesiastical History^ Bk. III., ch. iii. 

X Ecclesiastical History^ Bk. IV., ch. xxvii. 


wanderings of his unburied corpse till it rested at last in 
Durham Cathedral, do not come within the scope of this 
work, and have rather reference to national history than to 
the humbler fortunes of Channelkirk. 

The centuries immediately following St Cuthbert's date 
are noted for the historical darkness that lies over them. 
The three great powers of race, religion, and regality, with 
their thousandfold subordinate influences, are seen through 
the dim mist of traditions, annals, and chronicles, in tragical 
struggle for supremacy ; but except as involved in the vicissi- 
tudes which befell wide tracts of territory, we have scarcely 
a ray of light to show us, even in twilight outlines, the 
particular character and trend of human life as it flowed 
then through Lauderdale. Peace could scarcely have 
reigned there when so many passions were in fury and 
the deepest interests were in peril. The foundations of 
future Scotland were then being laid, and the blood of 
Saxon, Briton, and Dane watered them copiously. Lothian 
is said to have been invaded six times during the ninth 
century, Melrose and Dunbar reduced to ashes, and the 
whole of Bernicia and part of Anglia to have been subdued 
by Aed, son of Niel, King of Ireland. We are safe to assume 
that Lauderdale shared in the horrors of these invasions, 
though the silent earth has received all record of them 
into her bosom for ever. It is conjecturable, however, that 
the Danish incursions, and after them the Norwegian, may 
have left proof of their existence here in a few of the 
place-names which have been exhumed. " Oxton " village 
was originally Ulfcytelstun, or the "tun" of Ulfcytel or 
Ulfkill, a name which is purely Norse. The " Lileston " of 
to-day was originally " Ilifston," Olafs-tun, or the " tun " of 
Olave, also a name of Norse descent. Hartside lands come 


before us in the early charters as having been held by Heden 
and Hemming, the former of which may possibly be a 
contracted form of Haldane or Half dene, a name which was 
terrible enough all over Bernicia about 872. Hemming was 
the name of a Danish leader who landed with Turkil in 
1009, and ravaged Kent, Sussex, and Hampshire,* and this 
Hemming, who is proprietor in Upper Lauderdale before 
the twelfth century, clearly belongs to the same sea-roving 
race. It is, of course, optional to regard these Norse names 
as having come into Upper Lauderdale with some plunder- 
ing raiders of the east coast who found it more advantageous 
to remain here than return across the seas to their own 
country ; or, on the other hand, to suppose that later they 
had come north in the retinue of the powerful Norman sept 
of De Morville, and through him had obtained landed im- 
portance in lieu of services worthy of this honour. 

Some scintillations of reflected light on the mundane 
affairs of Lauderdale are thus perhaps possible to us from 
these sources, but when we endeavour to descry there the 
outlines of a church or any form of established religion, we 
must reverse the usual order of our instincts and pass from 
light into darkness. The period between 700 and iiooA.D. 
is admittedly a benighted one. With the life of Cuthbert 
all reference to Channelkirk ceases till the era of record opens 
in the twelfth century under David the First. Yet there are 
inductive processes by which from authentic facts we may 
pass to reasonable conclusions regarding what must have taken 
place during that interval, and arrive inferentially at general 
truths. Cuthbert had passed away from Upper Lauderdale 
to a wider field more suitable to his energies and genius, but 
he was far from being forgotten there. There are few firmer 

* Hoveden's Chronicle, vol. i. 


bonds on earth than those woven out of the religious zeal 
and affection which converts have for their spiritual fathers. 
His name rang over all the south, and there must have been 
many who preserved the memory of his presence and work 
among the gloomy mountains of his early experiences, and 
especially on the banks of the Leader his name would be 
enshrined in the hearts of those upon whose heads his holy 
hands had been laid in consecrating baptism. A fitting 
memorial of worship raised to commemorate his saintly 
presence in their midst seems only natural when considered 
as a possibility. The tradition which is found in the Irish 
Life, and which is enthusiastically repeated by rhyming 
chroniclers, cannot have been the outcome of pure fancy. If 
it were a myth, what motive existed for the creation of such ? 
The statements are infectious in the superlative expression 
of their convictions. " The place itself is even still held by the 
inhabitants as of the greatest note, in which a church to his 
honour is now consecrated to God." The lapse of five or six 
hundred years, that is, had not obliterated the fame of St 
Cuthbert among these early people of Channelkirk. They 
cannot even dream that any one in Scotland can be ignorant 
of the circumstances : — 

" That place is knawen in all' Scotland, 
For nowe a kirk thar on stand, 
Childe kirk is called commonly — " 

And with such exuberant faith and words before us, it 
.seems almost obstinate to disbelieve that the connection of 
St Cuthbert with Channelkirk was genuinely accepted by 
Scottish people in general in the way they have handed 
it down to us. 

When we reach the twelfth century, and enter the 
peaceful haven of the testimony of Chartularies, it is to 


find Channelkirk Church a well-settled institution on 
the land which was then the property of Hugh de 
Morville, Lord of Lauderdale, and under his benign 
patronage. But though he bestowed it, towards the close 
of his life, on the Abbot and brethren of Dryburgh Abbey, 
there is not the least trace of an indication that it had 
been founded or built by him. Lauder Church, moreover, 
was in existence as early as 1170 A.D., but Dryburgh 
monks testify that Channelkirk Church had been the 
mother and parish church of all Lauderdale before Lauder 
Church was founded there, and this fact of itself seems 
to point to an early origin of the former. Cuthbert died 
in 687, an event which was certain to arouse a deeper 
and more hallowed enthusiasm for his name throughout 
all the Lowlands, and our inference from the above 
considerations may not be far from the truth, when we 
surmise that the original Church of Channelkirk, which 
was built and dedicated to him, may have come into 
existence between the seventh and ninth centuries, during 
the darkest period, that is, of its historical record. 

Great and far-reaching changes, meanwhile, had 
befallen the dale since Cuthbert rode down through it 
to become a monk in Melrose, or had wandered over its 
hills and glens teaching and preaching the Gospel to the 
Angles and Brythonic serfs in their thrall. Ecclesiastically 
a religious reformation, or rather revolution, had taken 
place in the overthrow of the Columban or ancient Scotch 
Church, and the adoption of the Roman Catholic in its 
place, as fundamentally important, perhaps, as that which 
transpired in the sixteenth century under Luther and 
Knox, though not, indeed, so sweeping or abrupt in the 
changes it effected among the people of the land. The 


influence of the Roman Church had steadily crept across 
the country, and the power of its hierarchy was soon 
paramount from shore to shore. This movement was 
greatly aided by the advent into Scotland of Margaret, 
afterwards Malcolm's Queen, and those who followed in 
her train. Under the date 1067, the year following the 
subjugation of England by William the Conqueror, the 
Saxon Chronicle tells us, " This summer the child Edgar, 
with his mother Agatha, his sisters Margaret and 
Christina, Merlesweyne and several good men, went to 
Scotland under the protection of King Malcolm, who 
received them all. Then it was that King Malcolm 
desired to have Margaret to wife ; but the child Edgar 
and all his men refused for a long time, and she herself 
was unwilling, saying that she would have neither him 
nor any other person, if God would allow her to serve 
Him with her carnal heart, in strict continence, during 
this short life. But the king urged her brother until he 
said yes, and, indeed, he did not dare to refuse, for they 
were now in Malcolm's kingdom." Her powerful influence 
in partly persuading, partly coercing through her royal 
husband the hesitating priests who held the Ionic mode 
of tonsure and observance of Easter, needs but an 
allusion here. 

Geographically we are to bear in mind that at this 
time also Lauderdale was still in England and not in 
Scotland. In 1091,* "Whilst King William was out of 
England, Malcolm, King of Scotland, invaded this country." 
King William hastened out of Normandy to repel him, 
and when Malcolm heard that he and his brother sought 
to attack him, " he marched with his array out of Scotland 

* Saxon Chronicle. 


into Lothian in England and remained therer^'^ The 
boundaries of our country were not fixed on their present 
lines till some time afterwards. Curiosity is a natural 
feeling here, in the face of such facts, to know whereabout 
in Lothian King Malcolm waited for the redoubtable con- 
queror ; and as King William marched through Laodoniaf 
into Scotia we naturally ask if it could be possible that 
he may have led his forces by way of the great road, the 
" Regiam Stratam " of the Charters, through Lauderdale ? 
The valley was always in ancient times the main eastern 
route between south and north. In 1072 J William led 
both an army and fleet against Scotland, and while his 
ships were sailing all round the coast, he himself crossed 
the Tweed with his army. Possibly he may have found 
it necessary, as others after him, to divide his forces, and we 
are perhaps safe to conclude that part went up Lauderdale 
and part round by Dunbar. It may, indeed, have been that 
within five years, viz. 1067-72, these two notable royalties. 
Queen Margaret, strong of soul, and the Conqueror, strong 
of hand, representatives of much, trod the Derestrete along 
the banks of the Leader, past Channelkirk Church, and 
across the dreary hill of Soutra, one to remain in Dun- 
fermline leavening her adopted country with her faith 
and pious life, the other to return to pursue in England 
his relentless, merciless policy, and at last, in Normandy, 
find none at his death who loved him sufficiently to lift 
his naked and despised corpse from the floor. § But, 
however a pleasant fancy may speculate on such possi- 
bilities, true it is that the Anglo-Norman influx from 
England exerted a considerable sway over the future of 

* Saxon Chronicle and Celtic Scotland, vol. i., p. 429. f Celtic Scotland,vo\. i., p. 429 n. 
■^ Saxon Chronicle. § Green's History of the English People. 


Channelkirk Church and Parish. For in the floodtide of 
that exodus came Hugh de Morville, who was found 
worthy to possess most of Lauderdale, and also the high 
favour and confidence of King David the First, and under 
him to control the great office of Constable of Scotland. 
The country proper of the Scotch at this time terminated 
with the Firth of the Forth, but under David, who was 
Earl of Lothian as well, something like unity of policy 
both in Church and State prevailed over nearly all the 
territory which we now call Scotland, though consolidation 
and permanence were not given to its frontiers till 1266, 
when the various provinces comprising the realm were 
finally welded into one compact whole by the cession of 
the Isles. The central authority of the kingdom was 
therefore shifted in King David's reign from beyond the 
Forth southwards into the Lothians, and through the 
premier influence of the Lord of Lauderdale, the power of 
the throne over all the nation was for the first time 
directed from the banks of the Leader. 

There was more than mere contingency in this. 
The Lothian men seemed to have preserved a consistent 
form of laws and customs through every change, religious 
or racial, and " Lothian law became eventually the basis 
of Scotch law."* "The feudalism introduced by David 
and his successors, though Anglo-Norman, was very 
much based upon the Anglo-Saxon, or what was 
much the same, the Lothian laws and customs."f And 
thus there was a higher reason than the possession of 
military force why tested and settled government should 
emanate from Central Lothian. It stood in the foi^efront 
of civilisation. 

* Robertson's Scotland under the Early Kings, vol. i., p. 96 n. f Ibid., vol. i., p. I02. 



The boundaries of Channelkirk Parish received recognis- 
able definition and outHne about this time. It is well known 
that the boundaries of a great lord's estate, as a rule, came to 
mark out the limits of a priest's jurisdiction, and it was all 
the more natural that so it should be when the lord of the 
manor had himself probably built the church, and personally 
endowed it out of the revenues of his land. As Channelkirk 
Church was in existence before De Morville's advent into 
Lauderdale, its advowson and possessions through King 
David passed under his hand and patronage, and as there 
is no sufficient evidence that there was in his day any other 
church in Lauderdale with prior rights to the jurisdiction 
implied in his being patron, there is every likelihood that 
nominally, at least, if not practically, the boundaries of this 
parish were identical with De Morville's Lauderdale posses- 
sions. This condition of affairs continued in all likelihood 
till the death of the magnanimous Hugo ; but another tone 
and temper prevailed throughout the dale, and far beyond it, 
when his son Richard de Morville wielded the power of his 
father's office. At that time the parish marches are almost 
as clearly visible as they are to-day, though resistance and 
fierce protests appear latent in the background. But with the 
victories of Robert the Bruce in the fourteenth century, and 
the overthrow of what may be called the De Morville dynasty 
in Lauderdale, all further disturbing influences ceased, and 
with its departure old feuds and time-embittered quarrels 
vanished also. 

Having thus cursorily sketched the outlines of the valley 
in pre-historic times, the various peoples who have succes- 
sively followed each other across its narrow confines, and 
the establishment of the Christian Church in it with St 
Cuthbert's coming to Upper Lauderdale, it may suffice to 


point out briefly the chief territorial influences which hvh 
swayed its destinies since the days of the pious King David. 

The house of De Morville under that " Sair Sanct " sus- 
tained an authority in the nation which was almost regal 
in strength, if not in name, during the early decades of the 
twelfth century. The battle of Bannockburn, in 13 14, placed 
the House of Douglas in the ascendant under King Robert 
the First ; for the deposition of the lords of Galloway, who 
inherited the De Morville patrimony, added at that time 
to the Douglas the honour, among many others, of being 
" Lord of Lauderdale." The fifteenth century, however, saw 
the Douglas House fall in turn from royal favour, and from 
that time the Maitland House steadily increased till with 
John, Duke of Lauderdale, the name of Lauderdale once 
more stood in the seventeenth century on the loftiest national 
eminence possible to either locality or subject. Thrice, 
therefore, within the era of written history, has the trend of 
the national destinies received bias and direction, if not 
positive creation, from those whom Lauderdale acknowledged 
as her manorial kings. These three names, De Morville, 
Douglas, and Maitland, are three piers in a bridge, which 
carries our historical wanderings in this valley across a vista 
of years that stretches from the close of the eleventh century 
down to the present day. 



" Channelkirk " — Theories Regarding the Origin and Derivation of the 
Name — Its Form at Various Dates — Chalmers' View — The Irish 
Zz/^ of St Cuthbert — Cuthbert in Channelkirk — The Church Raised 
in Honour of the "Childe" Cuthbert — Dryburgh Abbey Charters 
and the Dedication — Bishop De Bernham — -The Priest Godfrey — 
Hugh de Morville as Patron — The Name and the Reformation — 
Its Local Forms. 

The name " Channelkirk " appears to have come into general 
use in the district about the beginning of the eighteenth 
century. We first find it in the Presbytery Records under 
the year 17 16. Glancing at it briefly, one might reasonably 
assume that its meaning should offer no serious difficulty to 
any person who possessed an ordinary acquaintance with 
customary Scotch terms. Yet there have been so many 
conflicting opinions set forth as to its origin and derivation 
that we are under considerable necessity to discuss the 
matter here at some length. 

The Rev. Mr Johnston gives the following account:* 
" Channelkirk (Lauder) old, Childeschirche, sacred to St 
Cuthbert, french. O.K., cild, a child, especially of gentle 
birth, but the present name means 'church of the river' 
Leader, common former meaning of channel — O.Fr. 
chanel, L. canalis, canal." It is not clear what is meant by 

* Place-Names of Scotland. D. Douglas, Edinburgh, 1892. 


" french." But neither channel nor canal means river. 
" Artificially cut course " seems to answer better. The Leader, 
however, is as devious and unartificial as it can possibly be. 

The writers of the Old and New Statistical Accounts of 
the Parish preferred the "gravel" meaning of the word. 
The Rev. James Rutherford, minister of the parish, writing 
in June 1834, makes the following statement: "The ancient 
name of the parish was Childer-Kirk, i.e. Children's Kirk, 
having been dedicated to the Innocents. More recently its 
name was Gingle-Kirk." 

" It is so written in our old parochial records, and it is 
still commonly so pronounced. Its etymology is uncertain ; 
probably it may have had a reference to the nature of the 
soil, which is chiefly of a gravelly sort." * 

This derivation, set forth with native caution, appears 
to have been directly inspired by the Old Statistical Account, 
so honourably associated with the name of Sir John Sinclair. 
The Rev. Thomas Murray, minister, Channelkirk, and who 
wrote the account of this parish for that work in I794,t says : 
" The present name of the parish is evidently modern, and 
is happily descriptive of the nature of the soil which is, in 
general, a light thin earth on a deep bed of sandy gravel. 
In our records, which are preserved as far back as 1650, 
the name of the parish is spelled Chingelkirk. Chingle, I 
presume, is the old Scotch word synonymous to the modern 
term channel.'' 

So far, the meaning of the present name is traced to the 
river Leader, which takes its rise in the parish, and to the 
general character of the soil within its bounds. The old 
name " Childeschirche," " Childer-kirk," is by Mr Johnston 

* New Statistical Account of Scotlatid, p. 88, " Berwickshire." 
t Old Statistical Account of Scotland, " Channelkirk." 


referred to a " child " of some unknown name, and by Mr 
Rutherford to the Holy Innocents from whom it derives the 
force of Cliildren's Kirk. Mr Johnston is, we believe, original 
in his view, but Mr Rutherford draws his arrow from the 
quiver of another archer, viz., the Rev. Dr Ford, minister of 
Lauder. He acknowledges this indebtedness. But he says, 
" As the doctor gives no authority in support of this opinion, 
and as I find no such thing mentioned in Spottiswoode's 
Appendix to Hope's Minor Prackticks, I am disposed to 
consider it a mere conjecture, and am of opinion that the 
obvious etymology first mentioned is the best." Mr Ruther- 
ford is not to be tempted on to " trap-doors." Holy Inno- 
cents, forsooth ! He finds the Scotch " sand " and " gravel " 
solid enough. Dr Hew Scott in his Fasti Ecclesian(Z Scoticance* 
was less timorous, and without giving any authority, boldly 
sustained the " Innocent " etymology. Dr James Gammack 
in his Itinerary of Bishop de Bernham, founded upon Scott, 
and Canon Wordsworth, Glaston (now of Tyneham), followed 
in his Introduction to De Bernham's Pontifical.^ Dr Gammack, 
however, has since withdrawn his view regarding the " Inno- 
cents." Mr Johnston, quoted above, is also now of opinion 
that " there can be little doubt that the forms ' Childes-' and 
' Childer-Kirk ' represent two distinct traditions." 

The legend on the kirk bell runs : " For Channonkirk, 
1702." " Ginglekirk " and " Jinglekirk," are, it is true, often 
met with throughout the kirk records, being perhaps the 
nearest phonetic spelling of the name which has been most 
familiar to the ears of the people in the district for several 
centuries. " Chinelkirk " occurs frequently in the records of 
Earlston Presbytery from 1696 onwards. It is a mistake to say, 
however, that in the earliest kirk record of 1650, the name is 

* Vol. I., part ii., p. 521. f Edinburgh Pitsligo Press, 1885. 


" Chingelkirk." The name there is " Chinghilkirk," or 
" Chinghelkirk," for the second " i " is not dotted, and may be 
meant for an "e." As we ascend the stream of historical 
narrative, we reach the form " Cheinilkirk " about 1634 : about 
1630, " Chingelkirk " : 1620, " Chingilkirk " : (Font's map, c. 
1608, has " Gingle Kirk"). In 1586-7, it is distorted once to 
the rather curious form " Chingclek." In 1580, it is " Cheingill 
Kyrk." In 1567, seven years after the Reformation, it is 
" Chynkilkirk," alongside of the commoner form " Chingilkirk." 
In 1560, the year of the Reformation, the name appears for 
the first time, in our backward journey, with a "^" in it. It 
is " Cheindilkirk," or " Chenidilkirk," and in 1535, " Chyndyl- 
kirk." It is evident that in the forms of " Chynkilkirk " of 
1 567, and " Cheindelkirk " of 1 560, we have some evidence 
of the changes which were then being carried forward 
throughout the whole country. When names are so tossed 
about, there must be storms at work. We find, as a matter 
of fact, that the former was the name familiar to the people, 
and the latter the designation which was known to the 
Church. The one with which the monks were intimate, and 
which is found in the charters of Dryburgh Abbey more than 
forty times, is that of Childinchirch, Childenchirch, Chyldin- 
chirch, Childenechirche, or some similarly analogous form 
of the same construction. These charters which mention 
Channelkirk Church, range between 1153-1318. About 1268, 
till 1 3 18, " Childenkirk " is sometimes put as an "alias" of 
" Childinchirch," and this seems to point to the conflict which 
had already begun between the ecclesiastical and popular 

When we leave these charters we find our light growing 
dimmer, and our etymological Bridge of Mirza becomes 
shrouded in mist. But we do not lose heart though we lose 


light. Truth is greater than either, and her very home is 
in mystery. Besides, it appears that there are footprints 
further on. That bold pioneer, George Chalmers, has passed 
this way, and it is here, perhaps, that we may most fittingly 
introduce his singular derivation. If it turn out to be a mere 
spectre of the Brocken, it may not prove satisfactory, but it • 
cannot fail to be interesting and impressive, and it is just 
possible that Chalmers did not aim at higher results. But 
he evidently felt that the " sand " and " gravel " theory was 
impossible. And, indeed, from the present day back to 
1 560, it is perfectly clear that there is no rational element in 
the whole forest of "Gingles," "Jingles," and "Shingles," 
distinctive enough to warrant any sane person in building 
an intelligent meaning upon it. Chalmers instinctively per- 
ceived that if any meaning were possible, it must be found 
not on this, but on the other side of the Reformation. And 
having once resolved to traverse the centuries, he soon ac- 
complishes the task. Like the prince in the Arabian Nights, 
he but mounts his steed, turns the peg at its ear, and soon 
the periods of the Crusades, Norman Invasions, Danish In- 
vasions, Saxon Invasions, in short. Middle Ages, Dark Ages, 
and similar spaces, are all left behind him ! He alights in the 
second century, we may say, and seeks an explanation from 
the people called Otadeni, who occupied our Berwickshire 
district at that time, believing that a church might have 
existed at Channelkirk " before the epoch of record." He 
states his view in the following way : " The name of the 
parish of Channelkirk is obscure. In the charters of the 
twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the word is written Chyldin- 
chirche and Childincirch ; which evince that Channelkirk is a 
mere modern corruption. The affix to the original term is 
obviously the Saxon circ, cyrc, cyric, the Old English kirk, the 


Anglo-Norman church. It is more than probable that the 
original name of the place, which is significantly marked by 
the site of the Roman camp, was Childin, which may have 
been left here by the Romanised Ottadini, with other names 
that still remain, as we have seen, in their British form. And, 
of course, the Cambro-British word is plainly cil-din, signifying 
the retreat, or chapel, or church, at the fort." 

It must be confessed that his theory is ingenious, and we 
feel at once the angelic strength of wing, but like the other 
derivations given above, it is fatally discredited through lack 
of sufficient authority. " It is more than probable," he says, 
but it is still conjectural. The Anglo-Saxon forms are not, it 
appears, circ^ cyrc^ cyric, as he affirms, but cirice, cyrice, circe, 
cyrce^ the final " e " being necessary to get the " ch." We are 
convinced that Chalmers has shown us a spectre among the 
mists. Still, one parts reluctantly from him. He is our last 

Hitherto, the solution of the meaning has been prosecuted 
in the regions of the topographical, the etymological, and the 
military. Why should we not try the ecclesiastical? A 
place-name so churchy as Channelkirk seems traceable to 
such a source. Is there any strongly persistent fact, historical 
or traditional, or both combined, set down in the centuries 
preceding those of the Dryburgh Charters, where we last 
leave written testimony, which might justly be esteemed 
powerful enough to create a place-name of the " Childen- 
Chirch " complexion ? May not the sufficiently proved 
historical connection of St Cuthbert with the Lammermoors, 
on which Channelkirk is built, lie at the foundation of the 
difficulty ? The labyrinths, however puzzling, had a veritable 
entrance and exit, and where we have lost ourselves by so 
many paths, we can but attempt another in search of liberty. 


The merest thread, contemptible for strength in all other 
circumstances, may save us in this one. 

We turn, then, to a MS., which, says Dr James Raine, is in 
a fourteenth century hand,* and may have been first written 
towards the close of the twelfth century. In his Life of St 
Cuthbert, Canon Fowler says {Surtees Society, No. 87, II., 
pref. vi., New Edition, 1889), "It is possible there may be 
some germ of historic truth at the bottom of the Irish story." 
He also thinks it " probable " that this Irish Life was 
"written towards the close of the twelfth century," though 
the " older forms " of the name " Childenechirche," he quotes 
as only "c. 1295" (note 2, 5). If this Irish Life is reliable, 
it certainly puts the whole matter in quite a different 
setting, and seems to yield more satisfactory results, on 
the whole, than anything which has been propounded by 
the writers already noticed. The MS. is, of course, assailed 
by many critics as unworthy of belief It is stuffed with the 
miraculous, the mystical, and the anachronistic. It is needless 
to say that nearly every manuscript of a similar kind is 
characterised by the same blemishes, those of Bede himself, 
who is more than a Delphic oracle to us, not being exempted. 
The MS. is entitled Libelhis de Ortu Sancti Cuthberti, and is 
the only life of that Saint which professes to give a narrative 
of his birth and early boyhood. We can but take what it has 
to give us, and accept or reject it as we choose, adopting with 
regard to it, it may be, the ground occupied by modern 
critics of the Scriptures, who aver that although all of the 
statements in them are not true, yet that truth is to be found 
in these statements ! All other " Lives " of St Cuthbert, as is 
well-known, begin with the period of his youth. The most 
important of these are Bede's and the one written by the 
* Surtees Society, 1838. 


nameless monk of probably Lindisfarne or Melrose * whom, 

perhaps, Bede has in view when he says, " What I have written 

concerning our most holy father. Bishop Cuthbert, either in 

this volume, or in my treatise on his life and actions, I partly 

took, and faithfully copied from what I found written of 

him by the brethren of the Church of Lindisfarne." f Both 

Bede and the anonymous monk were contemporaries of St 

Cuthbert. The latter connects him with our locality. He 

depicts him- as a young shepherd watching over his master's 

flocks, along with other shepherds, near the river Leder, in 

the vicinity of the hills among which it takes its rise {quando 

in viontanis juxta fluvmvi, quoad dicitur Leder, cum aliis 

pastoribus pecos a domini sui pascebat). " These mountains," 

says Dr W. F. Skene, " were the southern slope of the 

Lammermoors, which surround the upper part of the vale 

of the Leader, in Berwickshire," J that is to say, the parish 

of Channelkirk. This fact of locality seems an irreducible 

one, and it is all-important to us in the present pursuit. It 

is supported by Green, Chalmers, and others.§ We seem, 

then, justified in standing firmly on this historical fact, 

firmly fixed in the seventh century, viz., that Cuthbert, the 

future apostle of the South of Scotland, herded his master's 

flocks when a young man, on the banks of the Leader Water, 

near the Lammermoor Hills. Green, indeed, has grasped 

this local connection of ours with St Cuthbert, so tenaciously, 

that he afifirms he was born here ! But this is a more 

palpable spectre than that of Chalmers. There is indirect 

testimony to Cuthbert's acquaintance with Channelkirk 

district in the account Bede gives of him after he became 

* Vita Anon. St Cuth. : Acta Sanctorum, 20th March. 

t Ecclesiastical History, pref. trans, by Giles. 

% Celtic Scotland, vol. ii., p. 201. 

§ Short History of the English People. Caledonia. 


Prior of Melrose Monastery. Cuthbert, he informs us, sallied 
out among the people of his neighbourhood, and preached to 
them, not returning for a week, or sometimes two or three, 
and sometimes a whole month, "continuing among the 
mountains to allure that rustic people by his preaching and 
example to heavenly employments." * As Melrose is near 
the mouth of the Leader, and as the " villages " which were 
"seated high up among craggy, uncouth mountains," and 
visited by him in his missionary journeys, are descriptive 
only of villages such as Channelkirk was in bygone days, it 
is reasonably certain that Bede had our district in his mind 
when penning his narrative. No other locality in the neigh- 
bourhood ;of Melrose Monastery will fit the description. 

Having now, as we presume to think, established the 
presence of Cuthbert in or near Channelkirk in the seventh 
century, first as shepherd and then as preacher, we proceed 
to other essentials which are called for in creating a place- 
name, evoked, according to our as yet latent supposition, by 
ecclesiastical circumstances, and possibly, by the presence 
there of the saint himself One of these appears to be the 
high renown which Cuthbert everywhere spread regarding 
his holy life. His miracles, his virtuous acts, his episcopal 
dignity, his apostolic example, his austerity, his eloquence as 
a preacher, his diligence in doing good, his humility, his 
devout prayers, his tears, and crucifixion of all pleasures, 
roused an enthusiasm for him that none but the greatest 
have called forth. All this rendered probable what we now 
place with much diffidence before the reader. 

The MS. noticed above, "taken and translated from the 
Irish," *!* has the following passage : — Hoc primum miraculum 
in terra ista de puero illo innotuit, quo Spiritus Sanctus 
* Ecclesiastical History, c. 27. t Cap. 23. 


ipsum sibi vas futurum gloriae praesignavit. Locus ipse 
etiam adhuc incoHs notissimus habetur, in quo nunc ob 
illius honorem ecclesia Domino consecratur ; quique a 
puerorum coUudentium agmine, usque in hodiernum diem 
Childeschirche vocatur praeagnomine, illi dans honoris aeterni 
testimonium qui in aeternitate vivit in secula seculorum. 

The passage refers to an incident in Cuthbert's boyhood. 
After saying that he had been brought from Ireland by his 
mother to his uncles, who were bishops in Lothian, and that 
they had placed him under the care of a pious man there, 
the Life relates a miracle which, unconsciously, the boy 
Cuthbert performed among his playmates. Then follows the 
above statement, which may be translated into these words : 
" This became known in that district as the first miracle of 
the remarkable boy, by which the Holy Spirit marked him 
beforehand as about to be a vessel of glory to Himself. The 
place itself is even still held by the inhabitants as of the 
greatest note, in which a church to his honour is now conse- 
crated to God ; and which even at this day, by bands of boys 
at play, is by preference called by the name Childeschirche, 
giving the testimony of eternal honour to him who lives in 
eternity, for ever and ever." 

An old chronicler of the fifteenth century, who ap- 
parently rhymes on the lines of this narrative, says*: — 

" This was the first meruayle ane, 
Of him was knawen in louthiane 
The whilk schewed takenying that he 
Aftir haly man suld be. 
That place is knawen in all scottland. 
For nowe a kirk thar on stand, 
Childe Kirk is called commonly, 
Of men that er wonand thar by ; 

* Surtees Society, No. 38, edited by Dr Jas. Raine. Also Surtees 
Society, No. 87, 1889, p. 27 ; Canon Fowler. 


Of cuthbert childe name it toke, 
In goddis wirschip, thus saies the boke, 
And in his name to rede and syng ; 
To him be wirschip and louyng." 

Dr James Raine has a note against the name " Childe 
kirk," identifying it as the ancient Church of Channelkirk, 
and the identity appears to be admitted by all competent 
judges. The same authority says that the two anonymous 
compilations just quoted are those " in which genuine history 
and minute intimations of early customs and modes of living 
are mixed with fabulous details." He tells us that the Irish 
Life, however much it may be distrusted as reliable history, 
yet " as a regular piece of biography, written in a good style, 
and not deficient in incidental information upon subjects con- 
nected with the period in which it was written," " it comes 
within the plans of this Surtees Society," and these considera- 
tions have led to its publication." He also shows " that the 
monks of Durham had some belief in the Irish descent of 
Cuthbert, and in other circumstances in his history detailed in 
this piece of biography," and proves it by the account he 
quotes of windows in the Durham Cathedral having been 
glassed with scenes drawn from it, and which were destroyed 
by Dean Horn in the reign of Edward VL, " for he could 
never abide any ancient monuments that gave any light of 
or to godly religion." Canon Fowler points out that "the 
St Cuthbert window at York Minster still contains many 
subjects from this Life."* 

It is, of course, always made a matter of surprise that 
Bede should never allude to Cuthbert's birth. We know 
from himself that on submitting his manuscript to the 
priests " who from having long dwelt with the man of God, 
were thoroughly acquainted with his life," they corrected or 
* Surtees Society, No. 87, pref. vi. 


expunged " what they judged advisable!' And the suggestions 
constantly recurring from this class of circumstances inevi- 
tably bias us towards the suspicion that the history of his 
birth was not such as to recommend itself to those who knew 
the illustrious facts of his maturer years. If Cuthbert was 
illegitimate (as is asserted by Capgrave * and others, this Irish 
Life being among them), this may account for much that has 
been buried in silence by his religious contemporaries, and 
may also explain why the driblets of information regarding 
his young days and birthplace, have percolated down to us 
through such dubious channels. The belief in the Old Testa- 
ment flawlessness of God's priests was a power in those days, 
and this may lie at the root of the historical shame and conceal- 
ment which swept the pages, to all appearance, of the vener- 
able Monk of Jarrow. " The truth may possibly be," says 
Dr Skene, " that he was the son of an Irish Kinglet by an 
Anglic mother ; and this would account for her coming to 
Britain with the boy, and his being placed under a master in 
the vale of the Leader."-|- Nothing is more astounding to us 
than that Bede should know so much concerning Cuthbert as 
that " from his VERY CHILDHOOD he had always been inflamed 
with the desire of a religious life," \ and yet have nothing 
more to say of that period of Cuthbert's existence, we may be 
sure that every incident in Cuthbert's life had been probed and 
discussed by the Monks of Bede's time. His childhood seems 
to have been as well known to them as his manhood, and its 
character as distinctly defined. Why do the coceviis monachus, 
and Bede, then, hang a veil over that time, the latter not 
even venturing upon one fact to sustain his statement ? The 
reason seems patent, though it need not be restated. They 

* Annals of the Four Masters, edited by Dr Jo. O'Donovan, 1856. 

t Celtic Scotland, vol. ii., p. 206. % Ecclesiastical History, chap, xxvii. 


loved and revered Cuthbert ; his dust was holy to them ; an 
inviolable sanctity must not be dimmed or sullied by shadows 
of the past. And thus the waves of oblivion were permitted 
to lap within their bosom what the pen of the chronicler may 
have written, but which the hand of the churchman had no 
desire to rescue from forgetfulness. This accounts also, no 
doubt, for the blurred and almost wholly obliterated record 
which points to Cuthbert's connection with Channelkirk. 

That the church at Channelkirk was originally founded in 
honour of the child, or youth, who afterwards became the 
Saint called Cuthbert, as asserted by the Irish Life and the 
fifteenth century chronicler whose lines have been quoted, 
receives certain indirect corroboration from other sources. 
The supposed dedication to the " Holy Innocents " withers 
before the testimony of the Dryburgh Charters which declare 
Channelkirk Church to have been dedicated to St Cuthbert. 
In Charter No. 185 (c. 1327) we have the following*: — 

Universis Sancte Matris, etc. Thomas Clericus filius 
Willelmi de Collielaw Salutem in Domino. Noverit univer- 
sitas vestra me divine caritatis intuitu et pro salute anime 
mee et pro salute animarum omnium antecessorum et suc- 
cessorum mearum dedisse concessisse et hac mea carta con- 
fir masse Deo et ecclesie Sancti Cuthberti de ChildenchircJi et 
canonicis de Dryburgh octo acras terre. . . 

By this instrument, Thomas, son of William of Collielaw, 
in this parish, devotes, like a loyal son of Holy Mother 
Church, eight acres of land to the Church of St Cuthbert at 
Channelkirk, a bounty which necessarily was received by the 
Dryburgh Canons, seeing that Channelkirk had been under 
their Abbey since the days of Hugh de Morville, Lord of 

*■ Liber de Dryburgh. 


Charter No. 255, dated about 1161 A.D., contains likewise 
a papal confirmation of the Church of St Cuthbert at Channel- 
kirk (ecclesiam Sancti Cuthberti de Childinchirch) to the 
Canons of Dryburgh Abbey. 

It is interesting, too, though not perhaps evidentially, to 
note that Bishop de Bernham of St Andrews,* when in 1 240- 
1249 he consecrated so many churches in his large diocese, 
comes straight from consecrating St Cuthbert's Church, 
Edinburgh, to fulfil the same function at Channelkirk. St 
Cuthbert's, Edinburgh, is consecrated on "XVII Kal. April 
1 24 1 -2," and " Childenechirch " on " X Kal. April " of the same 
year, or on the i6th and 23rd of March respectively. We 
also observe that the day of consecration was as near St 
Cuthbert's day, the 20th of March, as the nature of the 
circumstances might reasonably be supposed to permit, 
considering the season of the year, and the formid- 
able nature of the journey. The editor of De Bernham's 
Pontifical also points out as remarkable that not even one 
of the churches was dedicated on the festival of the saint 
whose name is commemorated in its title, and seventy of 
the one hundred and forty churches which the bishop then 
consecrated, have been identified. 

Moreover, there is every indication that the church at 
Channelkirk existed before the time that rises above the 
horizon with historical writings. The year 1153 A.D. is, no 
doubt, the earliest possible date of Dryburgh Charters, in the 
first of which our church is specially dealt with. But it is 
there seen to be at that time a settled church with its own 
lands lying around it, and a regular priest, Godfrey, minister- 
ing at its altar. Its situation, also, is matter of general sur- 
prise, being perched 945 feet above sea level, in the remotest 

* Pontificalc (supra). 



corner of Lauderdale, on heights so steep and inaccessible 
as to daunt the most zealous worshippers. Only some im- 
portant event in by-past centuries could satisfy the interro- 
gations which all these circumstances arouse, and, when it 
was, moreover, " the mother and parish church of the whole 
valley " * while a more wealthy and powerful church under the 
De Morville family existed in 1 170 in the rich and populous 
centre of the dale, we are not surprised that the vision of St 
Cuthbert which led him to become a monk in Mailros should 
be localised on the spot where the church now stands, or that 
both tradition and chronicles should trace its existence and 
name to the life of that seventh century apostle. 

From a consideration of all these facts and circumstances 
connected with it, we are disposed to believe that the Church 
of Channelkirk derives its designation from the youth 
Cuthbert, afterwards St Cuthbert, and probably came into 
existence between the seventh and ninth centuries. Regard- 
ing the investigation into the etymology of the name, ety- 
mologists alone have a right to speak. We wholly disclaim 
any ability in that sphere. We only venture to suggest in the 
interests of a satisfactory and reasonable solution to this 
inquiry that the form Childeschirche^ as our fifteenth century 
rhyrher and the Irish Life assert, was the original one. 
Through forms which are now lost to us, among which 
Childer-chirche was probably to be reckoned, this became in 
the charters of the monks Childenchirch. This form, with 
variants of " i " and " e," " chirch " and " kirk," would persist 
in writings so long as ecclesiastical documents afforded a 
constant model to copy from. But as soon as Reformation 
troubles compelled the monks to fly, these documentary 
guides fled with them, and our Protestant friends were driven 
* Liber de Dry burgh. 


to adopt the phonetic spelling of the name which was con- 
stantly on the lips of the people of Lauderdale. There would 
be many local variants of it, as there are yet to this day. 
Our present name seems to have come directly from the 
change of Childen into Cheindil, which appears to have been 
simply the result of metathesis or the common transposition 
of consonants in articulation. But when Childench\rch. had 
become by metathesis Cheindtlch.\rc\\, or Cheindilkirk, the 
hatred of the tongue for the dental produced still further 
changes. Cheindil became Cheinil, as handle becomes han'le, 
candle, cawn'le, kindle^ kin'le, and so on ; after which Chinel 
and Channel are easy transitions. A corroborative example 
of the same process seems given us in the place-name Annels- 
hope in Selkirkshire. In 1455 it is Aldanhop ; in 1644 it 
becomes by transposition Andleshope. The obnoxious " d " is 
then thrust out, and it is now Annelshope. 

Before the year 1560, the year of the Reformation, such 
forms of the name as " Chingilkirk," " Schingilkirk," " Gingle- 
kirk," etc., etc., are never found, and are purely the spawn of 
the provincial dialect. 

C H A P 1^ E R I I 


The first Charter in the Liber de Drybiirgh — The De Morville Family — 
The Patron Saint of Channelkirk — Godfrey the Priest and Hugo de 
Morville — Extent of De Morville's Estate in Lauderdale — Kirk Lands 
near Pilmuir — Lauderdale in the Thirteenth Century — Its Devout 
Men and their Gifts to Channelkirk Church — Gifts " In Perpetuam" 
— An Era of Bequests to Holy Mother Church — Supposed Atonement 
for National Sin — Thomas of Collielaw — Ancient Agricultural Life — 
The Domus de Soltre and Channelkirk Church — Fulewithnes — 
Glengelt Chapel — The Veteriponts — Carfrae Chapel — The Sinclairs — 
Premonstratensian Order — Dedication of Channelkirk Church, A.D. 
1241 — Then and Now. 

Viewing history through the agency of Charters gives one an 
impression similar to that experienced when contemplating 
Nature as set forth in a picture gallery. Facts and forms, 
truth and beauty, reveal themselves so far within the clear- 
cut spaces given them ; but all around these margins are 
wood and wall, darkness and silence, and we pass from space 
to space with a weird sense of skimming over chasms, or 
graves, across which we slip some tentative speculation or 
guess, that seems to supply sufficiently the lack of actual 
historical sequence of time and occurrence. Vision is con- 
stantly under arrestment, and all the voices reach our ears 
through legal telephones. Men and motions appear to exist 
in an atmosphere of enamel, each attitude struck stiff and un- 
changeable as if by enchantment, leaving us often perplexed 



to know what motive, what principle or passion, had called it 
into being. In the absence, however, of steady daylight and 
open landscapes, these charter-flashes through the darkness 
upon the facts and faces of the past are very acceptable, and 
we are grateful to the good monks for sending them forth 
over the dark centuries from their religious lighthouses. 

The Register of Dryburgh Abbey, or Liber S. Marie de 
DryburgJi, opens with a charter dealing with the church of 
Channelkirk. Although marked " No. 6," it is the earliest one 
extant, as the preceding five have not been found. The title 
of the charter runs : " The Confirmation regarding the afore- 
said donations of Hugo and Robert de Morville concerning 
the churches of Childinchirch and Saltone." The writ itself 
proceeds : — 

" Malcolm, King of the Scots, to the bishops, abbots, earls, 
barons, justiciaries, sheriffs, bailies, servants, and all true men 
of all the land, whether cleric or laic, Franks or Angles, health. 
Be it known to the present and future generations that I have 
conceded, and by this, my charter, confirmed to God and the 
Church of St Mary at Dryburgh, and the canons serving God 
there, the bequests of Hugo de Morville and Robert de 
Morville, which they, in free and perpetual charity, gave to the 
same church, and confirmed by their charters, viz., the 
Church of Childenchirch, with the land adjacent, and all that 
justly pertains to it." 

In this quotation, and in others to follow, we give only 
those items in the documents which bear upon Channelkirk, 
This one is from the hand of Malcolm IV., grandson to David 
I., and consequently must have been granted between 1153- 
1 165 A.D., the period of his reign. 

Hugh de Morville was the friend and favourite of King 
David I., and rose to the highest office in the State. Much is 


dim and uncertain in his career, but he appears to have come 
originally from the north of England. He received, besides 
his possessions in England, extensive estates in Scotland. 
He held all Lauderdale down to near Earlston, where the 
Earl of Dunbar's land came between the northern portion 
and his other lands in Dryburgh, Merton, Bemersyde, and 
Newton. Between 1108-24,* he witnesses the gift of lands 
to Roger, the Archdeacon, and his heir; in 11 16, the 
Inquisition of David, and in 1 1 19-24, the charter of the 
foundation of Selkirk Abbey. He is called in Chronica de 
Mailros, the founder of the church of Dryburgh.-j* He was 
Constable of Scotland before 1 140,+ and died, according to 
the Chronica de Mailros, in 1162. If the latter statement is 
correct, it must have been another Hugh de Morville§ who 
was implicated in 11 70 in the murder of Thomas a Becket, 
Archbishop of Canterbury, and was afterwards Justiciary of 

In the Calendar of Documents we ascertain that he 
accounts, in 1194-95, for ;^I00 of his fine, made with the 
king for holding the forestry of Carlisle. Probably, the 
"Hugh de Morville" found after 1162 was a younger man, 
related to the Hugh of Lauderdale, and less pious, perhaps, 
in his character. 

The office of Constable of Scotland became hereditary 
in the De Morville family,*; and after Hugo it was held 
successively by his son, Richard ; William de Morville ; 

*Vol. i. Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland. 

t See also Liber de Dryburgh, No. 14. + Newbattle Charters. 

§ Hoveden's Chronicle, vol. ii., p. 14. 

II See Froude's Short Studies, vol. iv. ; also The Itinerary of Henry 
II., by Rev. R. W. Eyton, who includes the years 1158-70 in Hugh de 
Morville's life. 

IT Caledonia, vol. i., p. 707. 


Roland, Lord Galloway (d. 1200); Allan, his son (d. 1234); 
Roger de Quinsi ; Alexander Cumyn, and John Cumyn, and 

Before his death he gifted Channelkirk Church to Dry- 
burgh Abbey, and himself donned the monk's habit at the 
same time.* 

The name " Robert " de Morville in the charter just 
quoted, is, perhaps, intended for " Richard," who succeeded 
his father Hugo. Richard was a man of more warlike 
manner than his father, and was embroiled in many disputes 
with the religious houses. He commanded part of the 
Scottish army at the battle of Falaise in ii74,"h and was one 
of the hostages given to the King of England. He was 
excommunicated by John Scott, Bishop of St Andrews, as 
a disturber of the peace between the king and him.self l He 
died in 1189. 

The charter which next in chronological order makes 
reference to Channelkirk is No, 255, and is entitled "Con- 
cerning the Church of Childinchirch and the tenths of the 
Mills of Lauder and Salton, and two bovates of land in 
Smailholm," It is dated c. 1161, and is granted by Pope 
Alexander HI., who occupied the papal chair, 1 159-81. It 
bears that Roger, Abbot of Dryburgh, and his brethren, had 
petitioned the Pope to confirm Hugh de Morville's gift of 
Channelkirk Church to them, the consent of the ecclesiastical 
king being as necessary as that of the King of Scotland. 

" Alexander, Bishop, servant of the servants of God, to 
his beloved sons Roger, the Abbot, and the Brethren of the 
Church of St Mary at Dryburgh, health and Apostolic 
benediction. It is right that we give a ready assent to the 
just desires of your petitions, and your wishes, which are 
* Lt'der de Dryburgh, No. 8. t Hoveden's Chronicle. % Ibid. 


agreeable to right reason are to be complied with in the 
following way. Wherefore, beloved sons in the Lord, com- 
plying with your just demands by a cordial consent, wc 
confirm the Church of St Cuthbert at Channelkirk, the tenth 
of the mills of Lauder and Salton, and the two bovates of 
land in Smailholm, from the gift of David Olifard, for your 
devotion, and through you to your church by Apostolic 

This charter and Charter No. 185 are valuable in that they 
decide who was the patron saint of Channelkirk Church. 
Hew Scott in his Fasti says that " it was dedicated to the 
Holy Innocents." He gives no authority, and it may be 
that the name " Childermas " seemed to him to be connected 
with " Childinchirch," and so to have suggested the above. 
The mistake would have been rectified long ago, doubtless, 
if Professor Cosmo Innes's Origines Parochiales had embraced 
the Lauderdale district in its scope, a hint of which is given 
in his preface (p. xxiii), when he says, " Affectionate memorials 
of St Cuthbert are still found at Melrose, Channelkirk, and 

Malcolm the Maiden, died 1165, and was succeeded by 
his brother William, the Lyon King, who was crowned at 
Scone on Christmas eve of the same year. In such troublous 
times, when kings and kingdoms were so often placed in 
hazard, it seems to have been necessary, in order to preserve 
the clear right of possession, that each succeeding king 
should grant confirmation of Church bequests bestowed in 
former reigns. We find, therefore, that Malcolm, William, 
and Alexander, confirm in succession the church of Channel- 
kirk to God and the Church of Saint Mary at Dryburgh. 
About the year 1165, when he ascended the throne, William, 
the Lyon gives a general confirmatory charter to Dryburgh 


Abbey, and one item "from the gift of Hugo de Monnlle" 
is the " Church of Childinchirch " (Xa 241). 

Richard de Mor\-ille of Lauderdale, succeeding his 
father Hugo in the office of Constable of Scotland in, it is 
said, 1 165, and djnng in 11 89, gives, in some year bet^^-een 
these dates, the following confirmator>' charter (No. 8) : — 

" Richard de Morville, constable of the King of Scots, 
to all his adherents and true men, wishes health. Be it 
known to the present and future generations that I have 
given and by this my charter confirmed to God and the 
Church of the Blessed Mar}- at Drj-burgh, and to the Brethren 
ser\ing God in that place, in perpetual charitj-, the Church 
of Salton with full carucates of land, and all pertaining to 
the same church after the decease of Robert the Cleric 

" Besides, I concede, I confirm to the same church the 
gifts of my father which with himself he gave to the same 
Brethren, N-iz., the church of Childinchirch, with all pertaining 
to it with which Godfrid the priest held it in the day in 
which my father assumed the canonical dress." 

This concession and confirmation contains interesting 
items. I. The name of the priest who officiated in Channel- 
kirk at the time Hugo de Morxille bequeathed the church 
to DrA'burgh Abbey. 2. The earh- s)-stem of tenure on 
which this Godfrid the priest held it " Each church* as it 
was settled, was under the charge of its own priest or minister, 
and he was amenable only to the lord on whose domain 
he had been settled, and b\- whom, in most cases, he had been 
endowed. 3, The fact of H. de Mor\'ille having submitted to 
a monkish rule of life in Dr}burgh Abbey, a statement we 
do not remember to have seen noticed in any work treating 
of his history. The priest's name, Godfrew is .Anglic, and 
* Ckyrck of Scoflatuty \xA. iv., p. 3. 


points to his having come with the De Morvilles into 
Lauderdale, though, of course, this is merely conjectural. 

The church of Channelkirk, being under Dryburgh Abbey, 
was thereby in the diocese of St Andrews. Malcolm II. in 
1018 obtained a victory over Eadulf at the battle of Carham, 
and the province of Lothian was ceded to him. This large 
province was then added to the diocese of St Andrews, which 
previously did not extend south of the Forth, and consequently 
the Bishop of St Andrews included Channelkirk among his 
churches and possessions. Richard, the bishop, mentioned 
below, was chaplain (1163-1177) to Malcolm IV., and was 
Primate of Scotland. 

Charter 235 (c. 1170), "Confirmation of the Bishop of 
St Andrews concerning churches, lands, and possessions. 
Richard, by the grace of God, the humble bishop of the Scots 
to all (children) of the Holy Mother (Church), eternal 
salvation in God .... we confirm the Church of Childin- 
chirch, with the land adjacent, and all pertaining to it." 

Charter No. 249 concerns general privileges granted by 
the Pope in 11 84 to Dryburgh Abbey. While it confirms to 
it the Church of Channelkirk in the usual formula, another 
matter is introduced which is not uninteresting. Chalmers, 
in Caledonia (i. 505, ii. 224), asserts that the De Morvilles 
" enjoyed some rich lands on the northern bank of the Tweed, 
including Bemersyde, Dryburgh, Mertoun," etc. Russell in 
his Haigs of Bemersyde rebuts this, and says with reference 
to this statement (p. 55), "What is here alleged cannot be 
substantiated" .... "there is nothing in the Dryburgh 
Cartulary to support his statement." " There is not the 
slightest ground for believing that the De Morvilles ever 
possessed a foot of land in the Merse, their lands in Lauder- 
dale only coming down to within a few miles of Earlston." 


Yet in our charter above-noted, we find Pope Lucius III. 
confirming to the Abbot, Gerard, and brethren of Dryburgh 
" from the gift of Hugh de Morville, the place itself which is 
called Dryburgh" and again in Charter 2$\,'' the place itself in 
ivJiich the aforesaid monastery is situated!' There is some 
confusion of dates in this charter, 1283 being given in the 
text, and 11 84 put within brackets. The latter is clearly the 
correct date. Pope Martin IV. occupied the papal throne 
from 1 281-1285, and Pope Lucius III., who is mentioned in 
the text, from 1181-1185. 

Pope Celestine III. in 11 96 also confirms the Church of 
Channelkirk to Allan, the abbot, and brethren of Dryburgh 
(Charter 250). 

The charter which seems to follow next in order of time 
is very interesting, as showing one of the sources of en- 
dowment which was enjoyed by Channelkirk. It is as 
follows : " (No. 176) Concerning a toft and croft and land and 
meadow in Samsonshiels. To all, etc., Henry, son of Samson 
of Logie, health. Be it known to you all that I, with the 
consent and assent of my wife and my heir, with the view 
of a charter, have given and granted, and by this my present 
charter confirmed to God and the Church of St Mary at 
Dryburgh, and to the canons who serve God there, and to 
my Mother Church at Channelkirk, a toft and croft in the 
village of Samsonshiels, namely, a toft of one rood in front 
of, and a croft with land contiguous to, the same croft of 
three full acres, close to my house from the west, and also 
that land, arable as well as meadow, which lies on the west 
side between the aforesaid croft at the top, and the boundary 
of the burn which is between my land and Pilmuir, that is 
to say, beginning on the south side at a certain stone cross 
set up on the edge of the same stream, and extending as far 


as Derestrete in length northwards. To this, likewise, an 
acre which belonged to William, Robert's son, with the 
land which lies between the same acre and ditch between 
Samsonshiels and Pilmuir in breadth, and from the aforesaid 
stone cross as far as the way which leads to Wenneshead in 
length, and so by the same road on the east side continually 
to the ditch at Pilmuir as far as Bradestrutherburn, and 
thence going on towards the north exactly as that stream 
formerly ran to the Leader, in free and perpetual charity, etc." 
About the same year (1220) it was deemed necessary to 
confirm this gift by a new charter (No. 177), probably owing 
to the existence then of new heirs and other collateral con- 
siderations. In this charter, the land is to be held in per- 
petuity without any custom or secular exaction, as fully and 
peaceably as it is possible to give or confirm any church, land, 
or charity. The reason is also very solemnly stated, and 
marks the depth of religious fervour in those days when a 
man's faith determined his works. Henry, son of Samson, 
gives his croft, and toft, and land, and meadow, " for the 
salvation of my lords (the De Morvilles), and for the salvation 
of my soul and the souls of my wife and children, and of all 
my ancestors and successors, but specially for the soul of my 
father Samson and the soul of my mother." There is a beauti- 
ful simplicity in this old-time piety. Its faith is deep. The 
family is in heaven and on earth ; and death divides it not, 
nor can the grave cleave it asunder. Allan, son of Rolland of 
Galloway, who was now in possession of the extensive 
Lauderdale estates left by the extinct family of the De 
Morvilles, confirms these donations to Dryburgh Abbey and 
the Mother Church of Channelkirk, and notes that the above 
" Samson " had been a monk in Dryburgh. (Charter No. 
180.) As a Charter of Kelso Abbey, c. 1206, mentions 


" Samson's Marches," he had evidently been ah've before this 
date. (See " Oxton.") 

The places mentioned in these three charters which convey 
the gifts of Henry, are for most part now obliterated. Pilmuir 
is still flourishing as an arable farm, two miles to the north- 
west of Lauder, but Samsonshiels, Wenneshead, Witnesbusk, 
Derestrete, and the " certain stone cross " have all vanished, 
and left only conjecture to point out their locality. The 
" Bradestrotherburne " is still in existence and running towards 
the Leader as of yore, we believe, under the name of " Harry 
Burn." Who knows but the name of this ancient Henricus 
may have had some connection with the change. We may 
explain that a Toft meant a house-stance with, perhaps, a 
small vegetable garden ; while a Croft was oftener on the 
outskirts of the village or " tun," and was the source of meal 
to the priest and grazing for his cow. 

It is curious to note also, that, though in its locality, the 
gift is not given to Lauder Church, but to Channelkirk. The 
unpleasant state of matters noticed below perhaps accounted 
for this. The granter's father, having been a monk in 
Dryburgh, might bias the matter also, for the advantage was 
more certain to reach that Abbey by way of Channelkirk than 
through Lauder, seeing the latter was .seeking to set up an 
independency of both. 

. Charters Nos. 185, 186, 191, have no dates assigned to 
them, but this in no wise lessens their interest for us, as the 
Church of Channelkirk gains by them not only new endow- 
ments but also a new ecclesiastical responsibility. Eight acres 
of land are settled upon her, and two new domestic chapels 
are erected in the parish. Collielaw, Glengelt, and Carfrae, 
are the places which are rendered illustrious by these proofs 
of piety and self-sacrifice. Perhaps we cannot go very wide 


of the period, which saw these transactions, if we place them 
about the middle of the thirteenth century. No. 185 is about 
1327 or a little earlier, as we know from other sources.* In 
these old records also, at this period, the outlines of Lauder- 
dale, as they look to modern eyes, come more and more 
clearly into our field of vision. Pilmuir stands before us un- 
mistakably : Glengelt at the extreme north of the valley, with 
Carfrae on the heights to the east, and Collielaw on the 
sloping middle ground to the west, rise upon our view, and 
like the same places to-day, lead the eye round the boundaries 
of the upper part of the dale, and generally define its length 
and breadth. Devout men then dwelt in the land. The 
proof they give us of the high esteem in which Channelkirk 
Church was held by them, are comparable to the smaller 
currents in that tide of charity and full-hearted benevolence 
which swept over all the country. The noblest believed 
themselves nobler in laying their precious gifts upon the altars 
of Holy Mother Church. It was an era when the passion of 
giving for pious uses was strong upon men, just as the passion 
for the martyr's crown defined in earlier days a devotional 
epoch in the history of the Church, and we should note that 
when they gave, they meant the Church to keep what was 
given, so long as respect anywhere existed for the dead, for 
legal instruments, and the testimony of witnesses. Their will 
is set forth with the utmost care, and nothing is omitted that 
in future might cause doubt to rise or suspicion to rest upon 
the right of the Church to hold their bequests in her patri- 
mony. The strength of this is found in the absolute freedom 
of the gift from all burdens, and in its being bequeathed as a 
gift for all time. " In perpetuam " is their constant phrase. 
Of course, on the other hand, there is no reason to regard this 
* Original Charters (i., 98), in Register House, Edinburgh. 


as partaking of finality in Church affairs, as is sometimes done. 
The unalterable laws of the Medes and Persians have all been 
altered, and the gifts given " forever " have also undergone 
those mutations of possession which overtake all earthly 
things. Human contingencies spring from a deeper fountain 
than even human piety. Furthermore, it is impossible now, 
in these protestant days, to fulfil the conditions attached to 
their donations. The Roman Catholic priest alone can con- 
scientiously claim to save the souls of masters, fathers, and 
mothers, predecessors and successors, in return for carucates 
and ploughgates of land, crofts and tofts, and wax candles. 
No minister without that pale can even legally, not to say 
conscientiously, demand these possessions, on the foundations 
of the original bequest, without first assuming the spiritual 
obligations which they include within them. This is some- 
times overlooked. Nevertheless, it is also clear, that when 
once a gift is laid upon God's altar, and is afterwards found 
in the pockets of persons who can produce neither writ nor 
relationship to justify its presence there, it is impossible to 
deny the inference that morality, the worst, and sacrilege, the 
vilest, have been at work in the mysterious transference. 

Surprise is sometimes expressed that wealthy and opulent 
men, and men not so wealthy, should, at that time, have been 
seized with such an unbounded desire to pour their dearest 
treasures into the coffers of the Church. So lavish were they, 
and so vast was their benevolence, that, to account for it, we 
naturally seek for some reason, which falls somewhat within 
the category of those motives which move men to generous 
impulses, apart from those more exalted principles of high 
.sacrifice which can alone be illu.strated by the heroic few. 
There seem to have been few men of consequence in those 
times who did not bestow gifts on the Church and its priest- 


hood. What prompted them to such unusual benevolence? 
Love of salvation, and love of friends, and pious desires to 
escape eternal torment, no doubt lie upon the surface of it 
all, and are the reasons which obtain assertion and place in 
instruments. But perhaps a wider and more inexpressible 
feeling lay at its base. It is suggested by Dr Spence, Dean 
of Gloucester, in treating of the Conqueror's success, and sin 
in his subjection of England.* " But in the hour of his 
success, men in whom he had the deepest confidence began 
to see the awful wrong of the great conquest. The Norman 
Prelates .seem to have been specially struck with the terrible- 
ness of the Conqueror's work. Some few among his chosen 
followers refused to share at all in the spoil, and probably the 
enormous number of religious foundations in England during 
the years immediately following the conquest, point to the 
same conviction on the part of many of his Anglo-Norman 
nobles, that a great and fearful sin had been committed, and 
that some atonement must be made." We can .scarcely imagine 
how stupendous was the calamity that crushed the Engli-sh 
people then. It can perhaps only be matched by the disaster 
which the English themselves inflicted on the Britons when 
they came to their island. At that invasion we are 
told : -f- " The barbarous conquerors plundered all the neigh- 
bouring cities and country, spread the conflagration from the 
eastern to the western sea without any opposition, and 
covered almost every part of the devoted island. Public as 
well as private structures were overturned ; the priests were 
everywhere slain before the altars ; the prelates and the 
people, without any respect of persons, were destroyed with 
fire and sword ; nor was there any to bury those who had 

* Good Words, July 1890. 

f Bede's Ecclesiastical History, Book I., c. w. 


been thus cruelly slaughtered. Some of the miserable re- 
mainder, being taken in the mountains, were butchered in 
heaps. Others, spent with hunger, came forth and submitted 
themselves to the enemy for food, being destined to undergo 
perpetual servitude, if they were not killed even upon the 
spot. Some with sorrowful hearts fled beyond the seas, 
others, continuing in their own country, led a miserable life 
among the woods, rocks, and mountains, with scarcely enough 
food to support life, and expecting every moment to be their 
last." That was in the fifth century. The great battle of 
Hastings in the eleventh deeply avenged it, but the avenging 
seems to have been done with a tenderer conscience lying 
behind it, and pity and contrition for national sin, in order to 
appease its pangs, hastened to erect churches and endow 
priesthoods, as much, perhaps, to bury up blood as to advance 
Christianity, The conspicuous examples of the great land- 
owners and noblemen, and especially in Scotland of King 
David I., would doubtless be widely emulated by their vassals, 
and thus to give to Holy Mother Church would become 
fashionable and honourable, as well as being good spiritual 
security both here and hereafter. 

Charter No. 185 has the title "Concerning four acres of 
land and four of meadow conceded to the Church of Childin- 
chirch. To all (the children) of Holy Mother (Church), 
Thomas the Cleric, son of William of Collielaw, wishes health 
in the Lord. Be it known to you all that I, by the prompt- 
ing of divine charity, and for the salvation of my soul, and for 
the salvation of the souls of all my ancestors and successors, 
have given and conceded, and by this my charter confirmed 
to God and to the Church of Saint Cuthbert at Channelkirk, 
and the Canons of Dryburgh, eight acres of land, to wit, four 
acres of arable land and four of meadow, viz., the Haugh 



under Langsyde, in the territory of Oxton, in free and 
perpetual charity, to be held and possessed by them, from 
me and my heirs for ever, as freely, quietly, fully, and honour- 
ably as any charity is held and possessed more freely, quietly, 
fully, and honourably, by any religious men in the whole 
kingdom of Scotland. Moreover, I and my forementioned 
heirs will guarantee the land to the foresaid canons against 
all men. And that this my donation, gift, and confirmation 
may obtain perpetual force, I have affixed my seal to the 
present document. In the presence of these witnesses, etc., 
etc." Thomas the Cleric, son of William of Collielaw, was 
alive about 1327, but the charter may have been granted 

The names of the witnesses are unfortunately not given. 
The " Langsyde " mentioned in this charter seems to have 
sunk into complete oblivion, but there is reason to believe 
that the " Haugh " is Mountmill Haugh, and consequently 
" Langsyde " may have stood somewhere near the ruins of 
Butterdean on the Airhouse Road. Part of the glebe of the 
church was for long in Mountmill Haugh, and was excambed 
for the corresponding acreage which now lies on the north 
side of the manse, so late as November 1871. 

The " territory of Oxton " is worthy of notice as pointing 
to a peculiarity of ancient agricultural life. It seems that 
under such lawless times men found it necessary to dwell in 
communities or villas rather than in farms. By this means 
they derived greater security and immunity from assault. 
Attached to these villas was a district or territoria which 
cottagers and husbandmen tilled in their several proportions. 
According to Professor Cosmo Innes the workers on the land 
were of three classes : * i. The natives, serf, villein, bond, or 
* Kelso Register, pref. xxxii. 


carle, who was transferred like the land, and might be 
brought back if he attempted to escape like any stray ox or 
sheep. 2. The Cottars, who held in rent from one to nine 
acres ; and, 3. The Husbandmen, who held land of such 
dimensions as would approach nearer to our modern 
conception of a farm. The lowest of these classes, viz. 
the serf, is believed to have been the class of natives and 
their descendants whom the Angles and Saxons found in 
Scotland, and whom they subdued into slavery. Is the 
" bondager " of to-day a faint survival of this ancient class of 
people ? 

The " territory " of Oxton seems to have been bounded on 
the south by Over Howden burn, and on the north by what 
is now Mountmill Haugh. The Leader on the east, and the 
Wide-open Common on the west, would naturally be the 
other retaining lines. 

" William of Collielaw," mentioned in the above deed, is 
spoken of in a Kelso Charter (see " Oxton ") as having crofts 
near Over Howden about 1206. He must therefore have 
been alive about that date. 

The House of Soltre, which is referred to in the following 
charter, stood on Soutrahill immediately outside the northern 
boundary of Channelkirk parish. It is assumed to have been 
founded by Malcolm IV., grandson of David I., in 1164, ^s a 
hospital of the Trinity Friars. It was annexed to Trinity 
College by Mary of Gueldres in 1462, Only a small part 
now remains, commonly called " Soutra Isle," and which is 
observable from the highway on the west when crossing 
Soutra Hill by the Edinburgh road. It underwent some 
repairs in 1898. 

Charter No. 187, c. 1220 A.D. (in Soltre Charters c. 
1 200) — " Concerning a pound of pepper and another of 


cumin to be rendered to us annually by the master of Soltre 
for tithe of Fulewithnes, in the parish of Channelkirk, 

" This is the agreement made between the Abbey and 
Convent of Dryburgh, on the one side, and the master of 
Soltre and his brethren on the other, viz., that the same 
Abbey and Convent, being charitably disposed, have given 
up and have freed the House of Soltre from all tithes and 
dues which the same ought, by ecclesiastical law, to pay to 
the Mother Church of Channelkirk from that carucate of 
land which he held in the parish of Channelkirk, which 
is called Fulewithnes, at Wedelford, viz., that in crop 
cultivated for their own use, at their own expense, as well as 
that in other movables in the same land, themselves giving to 
the house of Dryburgh annually, for recognition of the 
Mother Church of Channelkirk, one pound of pepper and 
another of cumin at the fair of Roxburgh. And it must 
be observed that this has been charitably given up to the 
same brethren as long as they hold the foresaid land for 
their own uses, under their own cultivation. But their 
servants on the same land, and also all men whom they may 
have had residing under them on the same land, shall fully 
and wholly, over all things, pay their tithes and all dues to 
the Mother Church of Channelkirk, both in life and in death, 
whether the land be cultivated by the House of Soltre or not. 

" If, moreover, the foresaid brethren of the House of Soltre 
shall give to others the land already mentioned, or shall sell, 
or even let it on lease, all the donations and ecclesiastical 
rights of that whole land, both that in growing crop as well 
as that in all other things, shall fully and wholly be paid in 
all things to the Mother Church, 

" Besides, it was so agreed between them, that if the often- 
mentioned brethren of the House of Soltre [blank], viz., from 


the year of our Lord, one thousand two hundred and twenty, 
should receive any land or lease in the parish of Channelkirk, 
or [blank], if they should have obtained the foresaid land of 
any one, they shall pay the full tithes and ecclesiastical rights 
in full, in all things, and over all things, to the Mother Church 
of that land, and from all things in it likewise, and wherever 
they shall have had (possessed) anything in their parishes as 
well themselves as their servants, and the men holding from 

" In evidence of which contract, the seals of both houses are 
appended on this side and on that to the writing of this con- 
vention. By these witnesses, etc." 

As usual, the names of witnesses are here conspicuous 
by their absence. But a few are given in the Soltre 
Charter, among whom is William Alb of Hartside. (See 
" Hartside.") 

In perusing these charters it is evident that the literary 

forms of law must have taken their rise first in the Church. 

"In those ancient times (tenth and eleventh centuries) we had 

already laws, but no lawyers. . . . The class of professional 

lawyers grew up along with the growth of a more complicated 

and technical jurisprudence." * The monks necessarily were 

the first lawyers. This, however, is not surprising when we 

remember that the great bulwark of our liberties. Trial by 

Jury, first originated in Church courts, according to the best 

authorities, -j- Hallam X notes, however, " that the clergy, by 

their exclusive knowledge of Latin, had it in their power 

to mould the language of public documents for their own 

purposes ! " 

* Growth of English Constitution from the Earliest Times (Freeman), 
p. 126. 

t Cosmo Innes' Legal Antiquities, p. 213. 
X Europe during the Middle Ages, chap- vii. 


No trace is now found of the site of this carucate of land 
(104 acres), called " Fulewithnis at Wedelford," * unless it be 
the place now called Threeburnford, The frequent expression 
" the Mother Church of Channelkirk " seems to point to her 
well-known ecclesiastical status in the valley. It may refer 
either to the fact asserted in another charter that she was 
" the mother and parish church of the whole valley," or to the 
two chapels of Carfrae and Glengelt, over which she was 
superior. The two charters which follow here deal with the 
latter matter. 

" Charter 186 (no date). Concerning the indemnification of 
Channelkirk Church on account of the Chapel of Glengelt. 

" To all this document, etc., Henry de Mundeville wishes 
eternal well-being in the Lord. To you all I make known 
that I will be bound, as well by the security furnished on oath 
as by the present document, to the chief Abbey and Convent 
of Dryburgh for myself and heirs forever ; that I will never 
injure the Mother Church at Channelkirk on account of the 
chapel erected in my domain of Glengelt, but will securely 
confirm the obventions of every kind belonging to the said 
Church of Channelkirk, according to the tenor of the charter 
designed to me, by the Abbey and Convent of Dryburgh, con- 
cerning the celebration of divine ordinances in the said 
chapel. Moreover, I have given and granted to the same 
Abbey and Convent of Dryburgh, three acres in my territory 
of Glengelt, adjoining those seven acres of land, which, from 
the gift of Lord Ivon de Veteripont, my ancestor in the same 
territory, they hold and possess on the east side of the said 
Church of Channelkirk, to be possessed and held by them in 
pure and perpetual charity, according to the bounds and 
divisions named more fully in my charter written concerning 
* See " Hartside" and "Threeburnford." 


these three acres of land, of which I have executed a fuller 
sasine to the same. In witness whereof, forever, I have af- 
fixed my seal to the present writing," 

This* Henry de Mundeville was invited by Edward I., 
on May 24, 1297, along with the Scotch nobility, to go an 
expedition with him into Flanders. 

The Veteriponts (often called Vipont) come into notice 
during David the First's reign. Rev. Dr John Brown, minister 
of Langton, writing in 1834, has this observation regarding 
them. " During •!• the reign of David I., the Manor of 
Langton, with the advowson of the Church, belonged to Roger 
de Ow, a Northumbrian follower of Prince Henry. Roger de 
Ow granted to the monks of Kelso the Church of Langton, 
which was accordingly held by Henry the Parson. From him 
the estate passed to William de Veteriponte or Vipont, who 
continued to these monks the Church with its tithes and lands." 
" The first Vipont was succeeded by his eldest son by his first 
wife, Emma de St Hilary, and this family continued Lords of 
Langton till Sir William Vipont was killed at Bannockburn 
in 1 3 14. Immediately after this the estate passed into the 
family of Cockburn by marriage with the heiress of Vipont." 
The family seems to have extended itself to a considerable 
degree, but never rose to any great eminence in Scotland. 
Scott \ rather ridicules the Vipont character in Ivanhoe. The 
Ivon de Veteripont mentioned above must have lived before 
1 1 89, and seems to have been alive in 1230. § (See also 
" Glengelt " below.) 

In Charter No. 191 (no date) John de Sinclair promises in 

* Documents Illustrative of the History of Scotland. (Rev. Jos. 
Stevenson.) Vol. ii., p. 169. 

t New Statistical Account^ " Berwickshire," p. 237. 

X Ivanhoe, chap. viii. 

§ Calendar of Documents, vol. i., p. 203. 


similar terms to those of Henry de Mundeville, that the 
Mother Churches of Channelkirk and Salton shall not suJEfer 
injury from the chapels which he holds in Carfrae and Herd- 
manston, and certain feast days of the church are specified 
when neither divine service is to be heard nor mass celebrated 
in these chapels. And in recognition of the right of both 
Mother Churches he confirms two acres of land to Dryburgh 
Abbey in his territory of Herdmanston. 

The Sinclairs of Carfrae seem to have been actively en- 
gaged in the thirteenth century in the affairs of Upper Lauder- 
dale. Concerning the origin of the family, it appears, that 
like so many others, the Sinclairs came over with the Con- 
queror. They branch out into distinct divisions during the 
twelfth century, viz., the Sinclairs of Roslin and the Sinclairs 
of Herdmanston. 

William de St Clair obtained the manor of Roslin in 
Lothian, where he settled in David the First's reign. He 
seems to be the first of the Sinclairs to rise into historical 
notice. This branch gave the Sinclairs the Earls of Orkney ; 
the Earl Sinclairs of Caithness ; Sinclair, Lord Sinclair ; 
Sinclair of Longformacus ; and others.* 

The second branch is the one which connects itself with 

Henry de Sinclair, Sheriff to Richard de Morville of 
Lauderdale, Constable of Scotland, seems to have been a son 
of the first William de Sinclair of Roslin. The Sinclairs of 
Herdmanston and Carfrae derive their less remote origin from 

Henry de Sinclair was succeeded by his son Allan, who 
appears with his father in the Charters of the De Morvilles. 
It is this Allan who obtained from William de Morville, son 
* Douglas's Peerage^ p. 112. 


of Richard de Morville, the lands of Carfrae in the parish of 
Channelkirk, in marriage with Matilda de Windefore, and 
this is confirmed by Roland the Constable, who died 
I2CX) A.D.* 

John de Sinclair, who in the above-mentioned charter 
grants an indemnity to the Mother Churches of Salton and 
Channelkirk, was successor to Allan de Sinclair in his estates. 
We find him in 1296, on loth July, sending in his sub- 
mission to King Edward I., when he invaded Scotland to 
quell Wallace's rebellion.i* 

Charter No. 237 (about 1200) is chiefly interesting here 
for its mention of Oxton, the mill of which seems to have 
been held, along with several others, in the hands of Bishop 
William Malvoisine, St Andrews (1202-38), and regarding 
which something more will be said below in narrating the 
history of the village of Oxton. 

In 1 22 1 (Charter 234), James, brother of the Lord Pope, 
Penitentiary and Chaplain of the Apostolic See, Legate to 
the beloved brethren in Christ, the Abbot and Canons of 
Dryburgh, grants confirmation concerning all their churches, 
lands, and possessions, and the church of Channelkirk appears 
in the list in the usual way. 

Charter No. 251, dated 1228, contains a general confirma- 
tion of the Abbey's possessions, and mention is made of " the 
place itself on which the foresaid monastery stands." As 
already noticed, it is disputed whether Hugh de Morville had 
land to give for ecclesiastical purposes so far south as Dry- 
burgh Abbey, and therefore if he had not, could not have 
been its founder. This charter does not mention the giver of 
the site. Channelkirk is catalogued as belonging to Dryburgh 

* Dip. Scotia;, pi. 81. f Palgravc's Documents and Records, p. 169. 


Charters 257 and 262, with the above, are from Pope 
Gregory IX., and bear the same import. They also tell us 
that the brethren of Dryburgh Abbey were of the Premon- 
stratensian Order. This Order was founded in the first half 
of the twelfth century by Norbert, and derived its name from 
Premontre, where its first monastery was founded in 1 121. It 
spread through all countries, and wielded great influence. 
The rules were those of Augustine ; religious practices were 
very severe; fasts were frequent, and scourgings common. 
Flesh was altogether forbidden. Their life at Dryburgh 
Abbey was therefore no path of roses. They were usually 
called white canons from the colour of their dress. To call up 
to fancy what they looked like as they went in and out on 
their various duties, we have to imagine a person in a white 
cassock with a rocket and cape over it, a long white cloak, 
and a square hat or bonnet of white felt. They wore breeches 
and shoes, but no shirt. The abbot wore red shoes, and a 
short cloak, and carried a pastoral staff like a shepherd's 
crook. They were poor at first and lived by their labour, 
but their piety soon gained them benefactors. Their privi- 
leges were many, and in those days, invaluable. They 
paid no tithes, they could not be summoned before 
any secular tribunal, and neither were they under the 
Bishop's jurisdiction. Their work meant religious exer- 
cises, copying books, and reading, attending to the 
household offices, and working in the fields. They held 
devotions seven times a day. 

In 1230 A,D., Alexander II. confirms the Church of 
Channelkirk to Dryburgh Abbey (Charter No. 242), and we 
leave the Register of Dryburgh for a little to include an 
important event which transpired in the history of this 
church in A.D. [241, This was its dedication by David de 


Bernham, Bishop of St Andrews.* A notable event. Be- 
tween 1239 and 1253, Bishop de Bernham consecrated no less 
than 140 churches in his large diocese, and the reason of his 
activity, apart from his own laudable zeal, is found in the 
interest which Cardinal Otho had taken in the question. 
We cull the following notes from the Pontificale as quoted. 
"In the year 1239 Cardinal Otho held a Legislative Council 
in Edinburgh. Unfortunately the records of this Synod are 
lost, but it seems highly probable that the Cardinal should 
have issued among others a constitution, relating to the 
neglect of consecration of churches. We know that this was 
a subject which had been in Otho's mind, and that only a 
year or two before he had promulgated an order dealing 
with that subject at the head of his constitutions for England 
in 1237. The following extract from Johnson's English 
Canons f will give an idea of the nature of the document : 
' Now, because we have ourselves seen and heard by many 
that so wholesome a mystery is despised, at least neglected 
by some (for we have found many churches and some 
cathedrals not consecrated with holy oil though built of 
wood), we, therefore, being desirous to obviate so great a 
neglect, do ordain and give in charge that all cathedral, 
conventual and parochial churches which are ready built, and 
their walls perfected, be consecrated by the diocesan bishops 
to whom they belong, or others authorised by them within 
two years.'" 

On 3rd June 1239 David de Bernham was elected 
Bishop of St Andrews. On the 22nd day of January 

* De Bernham's Pontificale^ etc. Edinburgh Pitsligo Press, 1885. 
Introduction by Chr. Wordsworth, Rector of Glaston. Rev. Dr Jas. 
Gammack's " Itinerary of De Bernham," in The Scottish Guardian^ Feb. 

\ An^lo-Catholic Library, Part II., p. 151. 


in 1240, he himself was consecrated by the bishops of 
Glasgow, Caithness, and Brechin. Like a true shepherd, he 
at once zealously set about visiting his large diocese, which 
extended along the east coast of all Scotland from the 
Tweed to the Dee. The service book which he used was 
fortunately preserved in Paris, and it contains the roll of his 
church dedications up till 1253. The dates and places are 
only recorded, the titles of the churches, that is, the names 
of the saints to whom dedicated, being omitted. These have 
to be sought in other records. Early in the spring, on the 
14th day of March 1241, he is at Mid-Calder ; on the i6th he 
dedicates St Cuthbert's Church, Edinburgh. He then passes 
up the valley between the Pentlands and the Lammermoors, 
and descends into Berwickshire by Soutra and Lauderdale. 
If the March of that year was as tempestuous as that month 
usually is now, his journey would truly be a bitter one, and 
his sense of duty must have been strong to brave it. It is 
then, notwithstanding, that on the 23rd of March he arrives 
at Channelkirk and dedicates that church, passing on to 
Gordon on the 28th and Stitchill on the 30th. Lauder is not 
mentioned in the list of dedications, for a reason which 
becomes apparent in the chapter following. 

With regard to the year, it is as well to note that the 
ecclesiastical year in Europe generally commenced on 25th 
March. Strictly speaking, the year of our dedication would 
thus be 23rd March 1242 according to our reckoning. But 
we retain De Bernham's mode of dating. 

In stating " facts and figures " in this way we naturally 
lose something of the solemnity with which the lapse of time 
should impress us. When Bishop de Bernham stood on the 
hillside intent on consecrating Channelkirk Church, and 
when the ancient inhabitants of the parish wended their 


toilsome path upwards to take part in the religious mysteries 
of that day of March 1 241, we scarcely pause to remember 
that the world was very much smaller to them than it is now 
to us, and that hardly any of the well-known landmarks to 
which we are accustomed in history were then visible. 
America was unknown. No one had heard of Australia. 
India was a hearsay. A few had heard of China. Sir 
William Wallace and King Robert the Bruce were not born. 
The Parliament as we have it now, in its two great branches, 
did not exist. John Knox and the Reformation did not 
dawn on Scotland till 319 years afterwards, and if the people 
of Channelkirk had been gifted then with a glimpse into the 
future, they would have required to look almost as far forward 
to the memorable days of Queen Mary and Knox as we now 
need to look backward. About the time when Channelkirk 
was dedicated, candles came into vogue, linen was introduced, 
a licence to dig coal was first granted to Newcastle, and gold 
coinage took its rise some time later. Roger Bacon was busy 
with his chemicals and magnifying glasses, and, as some think, 
inventing gunpowder, while the compass began to be first 
known. But if physical developments were then but in an 
embryonic condition, the growth of spiritual power was 
immense. It was the noontime of papal glory. Never 
before or since has Roman Catholicism gained such an 
ascendency over the entire world. No nation was exempt 
from her rule, and kings and peoples alike bowed before her 
imperious authority. The slightest whisper of the Pope 
made a kingdom shake. His deliverance was law, and 
whether it ran along the shores of the Mediterranean, the 
Thames, or the sequestered stream of the Leader, his power 
was equally invincible, and submission to it inevitable. An 
illustrative case of this occurs in our dale about seven or eight 


years after Channelkirk dedication, and must have been 
pending as an ecclesiastical dispute when De Bernham passed 
through it, as is shown in next chapter. 

From De Bernham's Pontificale we can partly call up to 
our imagination the scene that was enacted at the consecra- 
tion of the church. In such a remote place, the ceremony 
might not be so elaborate or complete as it is given there, 
but the essentials were never omitted in any case. The 
articles required in the service were crosses, candelabra and 
wax candles, vases for water, keys, holy oil, chrisma, hyssop, 
sand or ashes, wine, salt, incense, bread. After robing 
and psalm-chanting, the Bishop and procession came 
singing to the church door, "Zaccheus, make haste," etc. 
Twelve wax lights were lit and placed outside in a 
circuit around the Church and the same number within. 
The procession then went round the Church carrying the 
relicts of the saint and singing the litany. A deacon then 
entered the Church and shut the door to ask the question, 
" Who is the King of Glory ? " in reply to the Bishop's knock, 
Lift up your heads," etc., after he had walked round the 
Church three times. The door being opened, the Bishop and 
procession entered bearing the cross, while the chest with the 
saint's relics was held before the door by priests. A sign of 
the cross the length and breadth of the floor was then made, 
and the cross of the Bishop fixed in the centre of the Church, 
and formulas, prayers, genuflections, chants, litany, etc., 
followed. After this the Greek alphabet was written across 
the floor from the left corner in the east to the right 
corner in the west, and a cross made with this by the 
Latin alphabet written from the east right corner to the west 
left. Then followed the consecration of salt, the ashes, holy 
water, the wine, and the altar. Then beginning in the east 


left-hand corner, as with the Greek alphabet, the Bishop went 
once round the church sprinkHng the walls. This was done 
other twice, each time a higher sprinkling being given, till the 
wall-tops were reached. He enacted the same ceremony out- 
side, chanting and defying, in the language of Scripture, the 
winds and waters to move the walls, till finally he sprinkled 
the very ridge, singing : " Jacob saw a ladder which touched 
the highest heavens, and angels descended upon it." The 
consecration of the churchyard (when required ; Channelkirk 
churchyard would be consecrated long before this) seems 
then to have come next in order, with candles set in the four 
corners, and much ceremony and singing. After this was 
done, the Bishop again entered the church. Holy water was 
sprinkled over the floor, the altar was consecrated with water, 
oil, and the chrisma, the crosses to be used blessed, and the 
incense. Here followed, perhaps, the most important part of 
the whole service, viz., the exposing of the relics. They were 
brought out from the altar, a veil being put up between the 
priests and the people (this being the first time that the 
people are noticed in the service), a place was dug and 
anointed at its four corners with the chrisma, and incense 
burned, and then the Bishop received into his own hands the 
sacred relics, and deposited them, singing meanwhile an anti- 
phonal, " The saints shall exalt in glory, in their graves they 
.shall rejoice." A table having been placed over the relics, it 
was daubed with lime as the Bishop sang : " The bodies of the 
saints sleep in peace, and their names shall live thro' eternity." 
The actual dedication closed with the demand for a gift to 
the Church. No church could be dedicated without it, and it 
was usually given by the lord who owned the land. He 
himself placed it on the altar with a small knife or baton, the 
clergy following the act, by singing : " Confirm this which has 


been done, O God, through us to Thy holy temple which is in 
Jerusalem. Hallelujah." The Bishop then raised his right 
hand and blessed the church with the usual formal benedic- 
tion. The gospels were then read to the people, and the 
Bishop preached. He explained the meaning of the dedica- 
tion, exhorted them to come and go to church in peace, an 
injunction which was not altogether unnecessary, as in 
Berwick Church, about this time, there had been bloodshed. 
He enjoined them to observe the anniversary of the dedica- 
tion as a holy day, and to give legitimate gifts to the church. 
Mass was then celebrated : the singers sang " How terrible 
is this place : this is none other than the House of God, the 
very gate of heaven." A lesson was read from Revelation, 
the Bishop blessed the people, and the whole service ter- 

Channelkirk witnessed this in the wild March month of 
1 241. Inexpressibly beautiful and impressive must have been 
the sight. Looking out on the church to-day in this last year 
of a dying century, one experiences a wistful sense of some- 
thing awanting. Whether it is that distance lends enchant- 
ment, or that the wings of Time, stretched over those far-away 
days, cast a more mystic shadow over them than we can see 
over our own, certain it is that a majesty and beauty have 
faded from our religious services which one would not wholly 
despise if they were to be restored. But, perhaps, for them, 
as for these old days themselves, there is now no returning. 



Ecclesiastical Disputes in the Thirteenth Century — The Lauder Case — 
Struggle for Teinds — Lord Andrew Moray — Eymeric, Lauder Priest 
— Judicial Proceedings — -The Pope's SeYitence and Suspension of 
Eymeric — Resistance of Eymeric — Final Settlement Concerning the 
Chapel of Lauder — Channelkirk Church, the Mother and Parish 
Church of the Whole Valley — Triumph of Dryburgh Abbey— The 
" Parish " of the Twelfth Century — First Mention of Lauder Church 
— Its Patrons — Channelkirk Priests and Lauder — Lauder Church or 
Chapel — Its Status before the Reformation. 

At Jedburgh, in the year 1230, King Alexander II. grants a 
general confirmation to Dryburgh Abbey * of all her churches 
and other possessions, among which, as a matter of course, is 
duly mentioned the Church of Childinchurch. This Charter 
(No. 242) does not afford us any more information con- 
cerning ourselves, but in a deliverance of the delegates of the 
Pope regarding the dispute about Lauder Church (No. 279), 
Channelkirk comes into rather interesting prominence. As 
is not uncommon, the light which enables us to discern 
Lauder and Channelkirk Churches so clearly at that dim 
distance, shines from the fires of an ecclesiastical quarrel. 
The thirteenth century, indeed, is somewhat notorious for 
its ecclesiastical recriminations. In 1220, just when Lauder 
dispute was in a state of incubation, the Bishop of Glasgow 
and the Canons of Jedburgh were settling an embroilment 

* IJhcr de Dryburgh, 



before arbitrators in the Chapel of Nesbit. The Pope, in 
1228, comes in between Roger, rector of Ellesden, and Kelso 
Abbey, lest trouble should increase ; and in 1203, Lord William 
de Veteriponte and the monks of Kelso have warm debatings 
over certain shealings in Lammermoor. Earlier, in 11 80,* 
the Melrose monks have a first-class combat with Richard 
de Morville of Lauderdale, concerning rights of pasture and 
forest lying between Gala Water and Leader. Neither did 
this quarrel soon die. As late as 1268, the Abbot of Melrose 
and a great part of his Convent were excommunicated by a 
Provincial Council held at Perth,*!" fo'' violating the venerable 
sanctuary of Stow in Wedale, by breaking into the house of 
the Bishop of St Andrews, and slaying a clerk, and wounding 
many others. Friction between the nobles and the religious 
houses seems to have been very great about this period ; but 
the rapacity which characterised the former in the later days 
of the Reformation, found a firmer resistance from the papist 
than was possible to the Protestant. Arbitration, it may be 
noted, seems to have been generally recommended and 
followed in these contentions as the best method of establish- 
ing peace. As a rule, the system seems to have worked well, 
but in the Lauder case, which is our immediate interest here, 
it utterly failed. The antagonism was too deep-rooted. 

The parties and religious houses concerned were widely 
scattered, a>d included Lauder priest, who was called 
Eymeric ; the Abbeys of Kilwinning and Dryburgh ; the 
Bishop of St Andrews ; the Priory of May ; Lord Andrew de 
Moravia, bishop ; and the great De Morville family. The 
cause of war was the teinds of Lauder Church. Who should 
uplift and possess them ? 

* Liber de Melrose^ Chronica de Mailros. 
f Concilia Scoficattce, p. \\\\. 


In 1 220, Kilwinning Abbey, founded in 1140 by Hugh de 
Morville, opens a triangular fight between Dryburgh Abbey 
and certain others in Glasgow and of the diocese of St 
Andrews, concerning the tithes of Lauder Church. A con- 
vention is then made between Kilwinning and Dryburgh, and 
the affair is harmonised for the time. When ten years roll 
past, the smouldering embers burst forth in fiercer flame, and 
give light strong enough to define the situation more clearly. 
In 1230 the Bishop of St Andrews, William Malvoisine, who 
was also, previous to A.D, 1200, Bishop of Glasgow, grants to 
Dryburgh Abbey a charter confirming the right of teinds 
which the canons of that house held in Lauder parish. By it 
all are given to understand, " that we (Bishop William, viz.), 
under the influence of divine piety, have granted, and by 
episcopal authority have confirmed, to our beloved sons of 
the Abbey and Convent of Dryburgh the whole half share 
which Lord Andrew de Moravia held in the Parish Church of 
Lauder, to be held quietly in perpetual possession, with reser- 
vation of the tenure of Symon of Nusiac, who holds it at 
present by gift of the said canons, for the rest of his life. 
But in the case of his yielding it up, or dying, we grant the 
said half share to the foresaid canons, and confirm it for their 
own free use, and with the full completion of their Title, that 
it be directed and held by them without opposition, as it is 
contained in the declaration of the judges, in the instrument 
of the delegates which they have beside them, namely : the 
half of every kind of teinds from Treburne, from Pilmuir, from 
the land of Walter Hostarius {i.e., the Doorward), from the 
land of Martin, viz., Withlaw and Langelt (Whitelaw and 
Langalt), and from the land of Utred of Langelt and from 
Ailinispeth, and from the land of Samson, viz., Todlaw, 
Aldinstoun, Welplaw, Lyalstoun, and Burncastell, and if 


anything new should arise within the bounds of these villages, 
the other revenues of the Church of Lauder are to be re- 
served. Moreover, we decree that he who for the time may 
hold office in the said Church of Lauder shall in no way in 
anything give any trouble or annoyance to the same canons 
concerning the portion belonging to them." This charter of 
confirmation receives " perpetual validity " by the affixment 
of the seal of the Bishop. 

There is no doubt here as to the .strained state of matters. 
The canons of Dryburgh claim a " whole half share " of the 
teinds derived from the above lands which seem to have 
belonged formerly to Lord Andrew Moray. But the Lauder 
priest gives trouble and annoyance to them in uplifting them, 
and the canons bring pressure to bear upon Bishop William 
of St Andrews, whose diocese stretches over Lauderdale, to 
make it clear to Eymeric that his protest against their actiqn 
is hopeless, and that he is utterly in the wrong. The case 
had, doubtless, been contested at an earlier date, as a refer- 
ence to " the instrument of the delegates " in the hands of the 
judges seems to warrant us in assuming. 

The *' Lord Andrew de Moravia " mentioned is the well- 
known Bishop Andrew Moray, founder of Elgin Cathedral, 
Dean of Moray, 1 221-1242, and the seventh bishop in that 
diocese. He was very wealthy and munificent in his gifts to 
the Church, helped doubtless by his close connection with the 
house of Duffus. His possessions, as we see, embraced a 
considerable part of Lauder parish, mentioned by the names 
of the separate farms, all or nearly all of which still preserve 
the same nomenclature with but little alteration.* It is 
*" Walter de Moray, in 1278, exempted the Dryburgh canons from 
multure for their corn grown on the above land (the land — a ploughgate 
—and pasture for 300 sheep given by David Oliford in Smalham), and on 
their ground at Smalham MWn."— Monastic Annals of Teviotdale, p. 305. 



accepted that Hugh de Morville possessed all Lauderdale 
during his lifetime, but between the date of his death in 1162 
and the year 1230, the date of this charter, when the De 
Morville name had sunk into that of the Earl of Galway, 
the area of Lauderdale valley seems to have been, through 
marriage, broken up into several estates, owned by proprietors 
who, in a few cases, achieved a more lustrous historical name 
than even that of the high official and friend of King 
David I. This was partly due to the generosity of the De 
Morvilles themselves, and partly, no doubt, to the necessity 
of the times. We know that Carfrae, for example, was in the 
hands of the Sinclairs before the end of the twelfth century, 
and Hartside, CoUielaw, Glengelt, and Howden — to instance 
those with which we are most acquainted — all seem to have 
been under separate owners about 1206. Bishop Andrew 
Moray may have become proprietor of the farms, from which 
the teinds were said to be drawn about the end of the same 
century that closed the record of the De Morvilles, and the 
original endowment of Lauder Church having become com- 
plicated in the changes of landowners, may easily have 
created great perplexity to all concerned, both churchmen 
and laymen. With every division of ownership, the new 
question of proportion of teinds lawfully due from each 
separate estate would arise, and this of itself would be enough 
to engender friction and bitterness between the mildest- 
minded of men. But the monks were by no means lacking 
in their devotion to their secular patrimony, however tenacious 
and grasping the nobles also of their day may have been of 
the burdens laid upon the land under their sway. The priest 
of Lauder, at least, seems to have had a special gift of pug- 
nacity, and the teinds which the canons of Dryburgh were 
determined to upHft from Bishop Moray's lands, he was as 


determined should never be fingered by them. They pro- 
tested : he snapped his fingers at them, for the men on the 
land, who had the first handling of the sheaves, were evidently 
his friends. In every case he held the teinds, as we shall see. 
The canons complained to the dignitaries above both, and the 
judges sat, as it appears, and decided in their favour. What 
cared Eymeric? Alas, however, for priestly courage, if a 
Pope's favour has no gracious smile for it. If priests will not 
bow, then, in such dire circumstances, they must break, and 
poor Eymeric, not bowing obsequiously upon this stone of 
power, ultimately falls under it, and straightway is ground to 

For Eymeric will not yield the teinds from Bishop 
Moray's lands to the canons of Dryburgh, and eighteen 
bitter and sullen years pass by from the date of Bishop 
William's caution, and the year 1248 dawns on the same 
disagreeable state of matters. But the Pope has now come 
upon the scene. The eighteen years seem to have had their 
share of discussion, trial, adjudication, and continued defiance 
on the part of Eymeric. The patience of Dryburgh canons, 
of the St Andrews' authorities, and last of all, of the Pope, 
is exhausted (Bishop William, good and patient with this 
refractory Lauder priest, no doubt, is in his grave ten 
years ago), and the bolt falls upon pugnacious Eymeric, and 
he is extinguished for ever. The canons of Dryburgh de- 
manded Eymeric's removal, and the whole case was referred 
to His Holiness Pope Innocent IV. He appointed judges 
in the case, which went to trial. Eymeric stubbornly refused 
to appear although summoned, and bore himself aloof 
haughtily. The "sentence" given below shows how 
thoroughly the ancient monks reverenced law, and how 
majestic is its mien through all forms and processes 


when moving under the dictates of the ecclesiastical judg- 

" Sentence of the delegates appointed as judges in the 
case of Lauder Church. 

" In the year of grace, 1248, on the first day of Jove after 
the discovery of the Holy Cross in the Parish Church of St 
Andrew, we, John and John, priors of St Andrew and of 
May, and Adam, Archdeacon of St Andrew, agents, ap- 
pointed judges by the Pope in the case which is pending 
between the Abbey and Convent of Dryburgh, of the 
Premonstratensian Order, on the one side, and Master 
Eymeric, the accused, rector of the Church of Lauder, on the 

" We have caused the Apostolic Letters addressed to us to 
be read in our presence, the tenor whereof is as follows : — 

" Innocent, Bishop, Servant of the servants of God, to our 
beloved sons of St Andrew, health and apostolic benediction. 
On the part of our beloved sons of the Abbey and Convent 
of Dryburgh of the Premonstratensian Order, a complaint has 
been laid before us, that, on account of Eymeric, of the 
Church of Lauder, in the diocese of St Andrew, which justly 
belongs to their monastery, they are injured in these same 
matters. And therefore we entrust to your discretion by 
apostolic writing, that, having called the parties, to hear the 
case, and the appeal being removed, to close the matter 
finally, causing their decision to be strictly observed on pain 
of ecclesiastical censure. Moreover, to compel the witnesses 
who may have been named, if through favour, hatred, or fear, 
they shall withdraw, by the same censure, to adhibit their 
names to the truth, and if you shall not all have been able to 
be present at the carrying out of these matters, nevertheless, 
* Dryburgh Charter, No. 280. 


that two of you can accomplish them. Given on the tenth 
of the Kalends of i\pril, at Lyons, in the third year of our 

The third year of the pontificate of Innocent IV. was 
1243, five years before this deliverance of the delegates. 
The deliverance proceeds : " The petition of the said Abbey 
and Cbnvent of Dryburgh against the said Eymeric having 
been heard concerning the Church of Lauder, which church 
the said Abbey and Convent of Dryburgh maintained justly 
belonged to their monastery. With the Apostolic Authority 
committed to us, we have lawfully summoned parties into 
our presence, after a day had been given to those on trial 
before the delegates, by law constituted for carefully trying 
the case before witnesses, because he (Eymeric) contumaciously 
absented himself. We, the divine presence making up for 
the absent one, caused witnesses, whom the said Abbey and 
Convent of Dryburgh brought forward on their behalf to 
prove their own contention, to be examined by men worthy 
of credit, and the depositions of the same on trial to be 
published, appointing a day for the parties to discuss their 

" When it appeared quite obvious to us that the conten- 
tion of the said Abbey and Convent of Dryburgh had been 
clearly proved, both by documents and witnesses without any 
exception, the more learned having carefully examined the 
merits of the case with the solemnity and order of the law in 
all things, and instructed through all things by a council of 
lawyers sitting beside us, we, having God before our eyes, 
in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, adjudge 
the Church of Lauder, with all that belongs to it, to the 
Monastery, the Abbey and Convent of Dryburgh, and to the 
canons of the same Monastery, and we withdraw the same 


Church from the said Master Eymeric, and decree that he be 
removed from the same, imposing perpetual silence on him. 
Concerning the said Church and the said Master Eymeric, we 
fine to the extent of lOO merks of silver, and make account- 
able to the foresaid Abbey and Convent of Dryburgh, for 
expenses incurred in the lawsuit on oath by the same Abbey 
for itself and Convent, by its procurator legally appointed, 
and for security made by us. The witnesses and sitting 
magistrates being Master Vigellus, Canon of Dunkeld, Master 
William of Cunynham, Master Alexander of Edinburgh, with 
many others." 

One should naturally suppose that Lauder priest would 
wither from off the earth before such a blast from Pope and 
prior. On the contrary, there are signs that he was not 
greatly disconcerted, though ultimately compelled to yield. 
Who knows but his decease alone settled the question ? 
There is some uncertainty as to what really occurred, but 
we are assured, on the authority of later charters, that the 
noise of the dispute still reverberated between St Andrews 
and Dryburgh four years after this deliverance of the 
delegates, that is, in 1252. All is silent once more till we 
reach the year 1268, when Lauder Church is discovered 
without a priest, and arrangements made whereby the priest 
of Channelkirk fulfils the double duties of both. 

From the above deliverance we learn the important fact 
that Dryburgh Abbey claimed the teinds of Lauder Church, 
because she claimed the church itself The claim upon the 
church of Lauder as belonging to her is therefore the crux of 
the whole contention. The Lauder priest stoutly renounces 
this assumption. He is under no superior. He stands for 
himself, and will not accept supervision. In the charter of 
1252 this receives a keener edge in the narrative of debate 


set forth there. It is a long document, and we give as much 
of it only as seems to be essential to the elucidation of the 
final issue. The chief interest, however, which we have in 
it is the light which is thrown upon Channelkirk Church 
with reference to its age, as compared with Lauder Church, 
and the ecclesiastical position which it occupied at that date 
in Lauderdale. The charter is entitled : — 

" The Final Settlement concerning the Chapel of Lauder." 

After the usual pious salutations and courtesies are set 
forth, Eymeric is mentioned, with" a sneer, as "calling himself 
rector of Lauder Church, which he unjustly occupies and 
forcibly keeps possession of (contra justiciam occupat et 
detinet), to the no small injury and detriment of the said 
Abbey and Convent " (of Dryburgh). A view of the lawsuit 
is then given. Bernard of Cardella is appointed procurator 
for Dryburgh Abbey, to act against Eymeric, who has on his 
side Theobald of Senon, procurator's clerk, who is substituted 
for the late procurator, acting on behalf of Lauder priest. 

The procurator, Bernard, in name of Dryburgh canons, 
" demands that the said Eymeric be removed from the said 
church (of Lauder), and that it be assigned to himself, and, 
in order to its restitution, with the revenues derived from 
thence, valued at 200 merks, and that Eymeric be sentenced 
to a fine. He also demands expenses." 

Theobald, procurator for Eymeric, replies by taking the 
evidence of witnesses. " I deny," said he, " the things 
narrated to be true, as they are narrated, and I maintain that 
the demands ought not to be granted." He loudly declares 
against Dryburgh Abbey and its procurator, " that since all 
the teinds situated in the parish of the said Church of Lauder 
by common law belong to Eymeric, in the name of the said 
Church, the foresaid Abbey and Convent, contrary to justice. 


gather the half of all the teinds, greater or less, in certain 
villages situated in the said parish of Lauder, namely, from 
Pilmuir, from Treburn, from Wittelaw, from the land which 
belonged to William of Blendi, from Langald (Langat), from 
Tolchus (Tollis), from Welpelawe, from Aldeniston, and from 
Burncastel, to the great injury and detriment of the said 
rector, although they have no right in the same. Wherefore, 
the said rector demands that the said teinds be, in the name 
of the said Church, returned and restored to him, or their 
worth, which he values at 200 merks. He also demands 
that the said pious persons be prevented in future from 
gathering up the tithes mentioned, as they ought not, and 
that perpetual silence be imposed on the same persons 
regarding the foresaid tithes. He demands also the foresaid 
things with the expenses incurred or to be incurred, which in 
his own time he will declare, and by the aid of the law, keep 
safe for himself in all respects." 

Bernard, the Dryburgh procurator, rebuts these demands. 
Then the narrative proceeds : " The person accountable said, 
* I give on oath the award of the law.' Petitions having been 
made, and the replies to the same, witnesses having been 
brought forward on this side and on that, we have carefully 
listened to all that the parties wished to bring forward, and 
we have carefully reported these to the Pope, who entrusted 
to us, as the organ of his own voice, the declaration of the 

" We, then, by the special Apostolic Authority which we 
exercise in this place, deliberately adjudge the Church of 
Lauder to Master William of Lothian (who had deputed the 
case to Bernard of Langardale at a later stage of procedure), 
present procurator to the Abbey and Convent (of Dryburgh) 
in name of the same, and to the Abbey and Convent itself. 


on the ground that, as the Church at Channelkirk which, with 
perfect right, looked to the same (Abbey) as though to her 
Mother Church, and on this account had been subject to the 
same (Abbey) and to the Convent, the same (Channelkirk 
Church) giving us (Dryburgh) freedom as regards the teinds 
for which the other party (Lauder) sued, when to us it was 
clear that the foresaid Church of Channelkirk had been the 
Mother and Parish Church of the whole foresaid valley 
before the Church of Lauder was founded in that place." 

The case is then finally closed : Dryburgh Abbey enters 
into full and undisturbed possession of the teinds of all 
Lauderdale; Eymeric is cut adrift by law ; and in 1268, as 
has been said, Lauder Church is served by the Channelkirk 

The case has every symptom of having been a desperate 
one. From words and altercations, process of law had been 
called in ; and when Pope and prior were defied by Eymeric, 
and Dryburgh Abbey's fulminations rendered nugatory, 
force had been attempted, and counter-force employed to 
resist it. But the key to the problem seems to be found in 
the short sentence about Channelkirk Church having been 
" the mother and parish church of the whole valley of Lauder- 
dale" contained in the final sentence of the judge or judges, 
as quoted ^bove. In order to have a clear view of the 
reasons upon which each side founded its claim to Lauder 
teinds, it is necessary to view the circumstances from a 
broader platform. The case seems to have taken form in 
the beginning of the thirteenth century. Parishes were 
then fairly well defined. There is abundant documentary 
evidence that there were parochial divisions in the preceding 
century, but during this inchoative stage, the boundaries of 
parishes coincided, as a rule, with the boundaries of estates. 


In the twelfth century the estate of Hugh de Morville 
embraced almost the whole of Lauderdale, as he is said to 
grant the site of Dryburgh Abbey, and the Lammermoors 
were not his furthest boundary on the north. This state 
of matters seems to have continued during his lifetime. It 
is in his son Richard's day that we read of divisions of 
land in Lauderdale. Consequently, in Hugh de Morville's 
time, that is, before A.D. 1162, the reputed year of his 
death,* there would be but one estate in Lauderdale, and 
this estate would naturally be, as was usual, the bounding 
limits of the parish. 

Perhaps, also, we should remember that a " parish " 
at that time did not mean what we understand by a 
"parochia," or parish, now. It had more reference to an 
ecclesiastical jurisdiction over certain territory. It was, 
to all appearance, a district over which an ecclesiastic 
was expected to exercise spiritual supervision. But as 
the priest of a church which existed within an estate drew 
his emoluments from the general reservoir of its wealth, he 
naturally came to extend his supervision over the whole 
estate, that is, his parish. And in the case of Channelkirk 
Church, it is almost certain that no other church existed 
within the area of Hugh de Morville's Lauderdale estate 
when he entered upon its possession, nor, indeed, during his 
entire lifetime. Channelkirk Church was, therefore, the 
acknowledged parish church over the whole valley, that is, 
over all De Morville's estate. Our reasons for believing this 
rest upon the historical facts that when Dryburgh Abbey was 
founded in 1 1 50 by David I., or by Hugh de Morville, or, 
probably, conjointly by both, the king grants to it only two 
chapels in Lauderdale, viz., St Leonard's and Caddesley, but 
* Chronica de Mailros. 


no church. Again, when Hugh de Morville wearies of the 
world and seeks to clothe himself in the monk's habit ; when 
he retires, in short, to the Abbey of Dryburgh to end his days 
in the odour of sanctity, on the same day in which he enters, 
he presents Channelkirk Church, with its land and pertinents, 
to the abbot and monks of that monastery. There is no 
mention of Lauder Church being in existence in Hugh de 
Morville's time, and if there had been such a church in 
existence, the natural inference would be that he or King 
David would have rather given it to the monastery, than the 
more parsimonious gifts of chapels and a church of less worth. 
We are aware that Chalmers, in his Caledonia, has said (vol. 
ii., p. 221), "From him (King David I.), Hugh Moreville 
obtained Lauder, with its territory, on the Leader water. 
Like the other great settlers, Hugh Moreville, having obtained 
a district, built a castle, a church, a miln, and a brewhouse, 
for the convenience of his followers." * This would make 
Hugh de Morville the founder of Lauder Church, and its date 
as a consequence would fall between cir. 1 130 and 1 162. But 
Chalmers gives no authority, and, so far as we know, there is 
no mention of a church being in Lauder earlier than cir. 1170 
or 1 1 80 A.D. This occurs in a charter given by Richard de 
Morville, son and successor of Hugh, " to the brethren of the 
hospital of Lauder," Richard died in 1189. "William de 
Morville, my son : Avicia, my wife : Herbert : Dr Thomas : 
Clement, my chaplain : Alan de Thirlestane : Henry de 
Sinclair (Carfrae) : Peter de Haig (Bemensyde) : Thomas, the 
writer, and others," are witnesses to this charter, although 
there is no seal. Russell, in his Haigs of Beinersyde, gives the 

* M'Gibbon and Ross, in their Ecclesiastical Architecture of Scotland, 
have relied on Chalmers' words, in their short notice of Lauder in the 
third volume of that work. 


date of this charter as cir. 1180, which would place the first 
mention of Lauder Church ten years later. 

Therefore, when Hugh de Morville died, it can be easily 
understood that the Dryburgh monks, having received from 
him the Church of Channelkirk, would also claim all the 
tithes within its spiritual jurisdiction. His having founded 
Kilwinning Abbey seems to have raised some hopes there 
also of obtaining a share of his wealth, and St Andrews, 
as metropolis of the diocese which included Lauderdale and 
Dryburgh Abbey within its pale, had equally with others an 
interest in the tithes from the De Morville lands. The 
Dryburgh claim is clearly based on the fact that Channelkirk 
Church, having been the mother and parish church of the 
whole valley before Lauder Church was founded there, and 
the same church having been gifted to them, they had ipso 
facto the prior claim to all it carried with it. " The grant of 
"a church" was often very valuable. It carried with it all 
the parochial rights, all the tithes of the parish, all the dues 
paid at the altar and at the cemetery, the manse and the 
glebe, and all lands belonging to the particular church." * The 
Church of Lauder had, doubtless, been founded by Richard 
de Morville, perhaps in consideration of the pious memory ol 
his great father. And, according to the usual custom, he 
had endowed it with the lands which later on came into the 
possession of Andrew de Moray, and which, with exception 
of Pilmuir, Trabroon, and Whitelaw, all lie along the eastern 
slopes of Upper Lauderdale, having centrality somewhere 
about Longcroft. As long as the De Morvilles remained in 
the valley, the priest of Lauder Church would have little 
trouble in uplifting his tithes from these lands. Richard 
seems to have had strong blood in him, and doubtless would 
* The Church of Scotland, vol. iv., p. 43, 1890. 


rule his gifts as he wished, independent of Pope or abbot. 
He had no warm affection, either, for the Bishop of St 
Andrews' domination, which he would meet constantly in 
respect of Lauder Church being under that diocese. Prior 
John of that see excommunicated him, no less, as a dis- 
turber of the peace between himself and the king, and it may, 
indeed, have been this very matter of Lauder tithes which 
was the chief bone of contention between them. The monks 
of Melrose also had pulled him through a judicial controversy 
on account of the woods and lands between Gala and Leader, 
and the proud heart of the turbulent baron, who had led the 
Scots in many a battle, and had been liostage for the 
captured King William at Falaise in 1 174, would doubtless 
have little love for monks in general, and rather delight 
maybe in resenting and resisting their interference in a dale 
where he was paramount in all other concerns. But 1189 
ended all his contentions, and his son, William, the last of the 
De Morvilles in Lauderdale, passed away not long afterwards 
in 1 196, and with other proprietors who lived far from the 
banks of the Leader, and with many masters to question his 
rights, where before he had had but one whose hand was 
ready to befriend him, the Lauder priest would find his 
position more and more isolated, the complaint of Dryburgh 
monks louder and more pressing, until, as we have seen, his 
stipend had to be uplifted by force and retained by the same 
ungentle method. His brave resistance is amply attested, 
Eymeric (or Imrie, as we perhaps should style him nowa- 
days), was a good guarantee that the Protestant Reformation 
was possible ! And so far as they went, and as he read the 
law, and perhaps as we should judge now, his rights to his 
tithes were undoubtedly good. He was somewhat in advance 
of the then ecclesiastical practice, and would not admit that 


Hugh de Morville's gift of Channelkirk Church carried with 
it also that superiority over the teinds which in area was con- 
terminous in De Morville's day with its spiritual jurisdiction 
or " parish," including thereby all Lauderdale. But it is just 
as certain that the monks of Dryburgh had good legal 
foundation and sanction for the same reason in not only 
claiming Lauder tithes but also Lauder Church, as being 
within their bounds, and the Pope and his subordinates 
stood upon this ground, and enforced respect for it. It was 
a case where the new and the old conflicted, the new necessity 
rearing its head against the old prerogative. A church was 
set up and endowed within the ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and 
fed out of the endowments of another church, and the new 
church independently disregarded and defied the rights of the 
old. So Lauder burgh seems to have sprung up in the 
midst of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Channelkirk — at that 
time given over to Dryburgh Abbey — in much the same way 
that Edinburgh rose within that of St Cuthbert's parish, and 
Aberdeen within that of Old Machar. There were many 
such cases, and corresponding disputes usually accompanied 
the change regarding tithes, fees, and privileges. Perhaps 
the fixing of the parish boundaries, with less reference than 
formerly to the boundaries of an estate, had something to 
do with the misunderstanding. In Eymeric's day, Lauder 
parish seems to have had generally the same conformation 
that it has to-day. The places mentioned as yielding the 
disputed teinds, viz., Trabroon, Pilmuir, Whitelaw, Tollis, 
Langat, Whelplaw, Addinston, Burncastle, give a very in- 
telligible outline, on its north side at least, of the present 
parish of Lauder. If the parish was so fixed at that time, 
it follows that the parish of Channelkirk was correspondingly 
limited, and on this ground Eymeric may have felt himself 


justified in uplifting the teinds from his own parish, although, 
on the other hand, the Dryburgh monks did not seem to 
be able to regard the new changes with sufficient esteem, so 
as to relinquish the interest which Hugh de Morville's gift 
of Channelkirk Church had given them in all the ancient 
parochial rights and dues which its accepted priority of age 
and pious connection with St Cuthbert had given it in all 
Lauderdale. That great and sweeping changes were being 
effected at this time there can be no doubt. All property 
was placed on a new basis by the new rulers from England 
and Normandy, and church government was entirely re- 
volutionised, war and suppression being the order of the 
day, the old Celtic church illustrating once more the words 
of the ancient bard, " His race came forth in their years ; 
they came forth to war, but they always fell." But, without 
hesitation, we lay the heaviest burden of the fifty years' 
strife on the shoulders of Sir Richard de Morville. All 
the circumstances point to him as the original instigator. 
Proud, imperious, and quarrelsome, a favourite with the 
king, and occupying the highest office in the kingdom, he 
would ill brook the sinister influence of priests in his 
affairs. On every side he was at daggers drawn with them, 
though in his closing days he was glad to find grace and a 
home in Melrose monastery like his father before him.* 
Dryburgh and Melrose on the south, Glasgow and Kilwinning 
in the west, and, fiercest of all, St Andrews on the north. 
The chaplains or priests of Lauder Church would, in these 
circumstances be cradled and nursed in the spirit and habits 
of mutiny. They could scarcely resist the contaminating 
atmosphere of insurrection created by him. And when, 
in defiance of all authority, Eymeric held his church and 

* Mon, Annals^ p. 263. 


teinds by force, he was only emulating the irascible lord who 
seems never to have permitted considerations of a safe neck 
to baulk the regal instincts of his will. Moreover, the lords 
of Galloway who followed the De Morvilles, and were, doubt- 
less, contemporaries of Eymeric, were not likely to be less 

Thus, with the powerful help of Rome and St Andrews, 
the canons of Dryburgh vindicated their rights to the ad- 
vowson of Lauder Church. John de Balliol had asserted at 
one stage of the law case, that he had been appointed patron 
to Lauder Church,* but, of course, after the final sentence 
which removed Eymeric, any such pretension on his part, 
either to interpose in his behalf, or prefer another priest in 
his room, was useless. Nevertheless, we find him, in 1268, 
gracefully resigning what could no longer be retained, and in 
this way the legal features of the case compose themselves 
quite becomingly to the inevitable trend of the circum- 
stances.-f- " The whole right and claim which we (viz., John 
de Balliol, for ourselves, our spouse Devorgilla, and our 
heirs) have, or can have in the right of the patronage of the 
same Church " (of Lauder), " is given into the hands of the 
Venerable in Christ, Lord Gameline, Bishop of St Andrews," 
although a suggestive clause is added after the resignation of 
" the whole right and claims," viz., " as far as they belonged to 
us." This resignation is carefully noted and carried forward 
with much dignity through Charters 9, 10, li, in the year 
1268 ; and in dr. 1269, Charter 12 tells us that Lauder Church 
is quit-claimed " for six chaplains." In that year Balliol dies, 
and in ctr. 1270 (Charter 13), Lady Balliol, "in her widowhood," 
confirms her late husband's deeds of resignation. She herself 
dies in 1290. 

* Charter 279. f Charters 9, 10, 11. 


It is in the same year, 1268, that we learn that provision 
had been made whereby Channelkirk priest should " make 
obedience " for Lauder Church as well as for his own (Charters 
40, 41). "But the vicar who shall serve in the Church of 
Childinchirch, otherwise Childenkirk, and who, moreover, 
shall officiate in the Church of Childenkirk as well as in the 
Chapel of Lauder, shall receive from the forenamed Abbey and 
Convent ten pounds sterling yearly, at the two forenamed terms 
of the year (Pentecost and Martinmas), and the said Abbey 
and Convent shall endeavour that the said Chapel be carefully 
attended to by two honourable chaplains. And it is to be 
known that the said Abbey and Convent will bear all burdens, 
ordinary and extraordinary, belonging to the said churches 
from which the said vicars will be free," etc. These arrange- 
ments exist onwards into the year 13 18, with the difference 
that in the charter of that date (No. 293), the Abbey and 
Convent promise that " the said Chapel (of Lauder) shall be 
carefully attended to by one honourable chaplain " instead of 

Perhaps a few words on this relationship which existed for 
so many years between Channelkirk and Lauder may not be 
out of place here, seeing that it has been the cause of some 
little disagreement between two of Lauder ministers, and is 
variously interpreted by the people of the two parishes. Dr 
James Ford, minister at Lauder, when writing the record of 
his parish for the Old Statistical Account in 1791, makes the 
following remark : " The Church of Lauder was originally a 
chapel of ease to Channelkirk or Childer's kirk, being dedi- 
cated to the Holy Innocents. At the Reformation Lauder 
was made a parochial charge." This evokes a sharp re- 
joinder from the Rev. Peter Cosens, who in 1833 writes the 
notice of Lauder Church and parish for the New Statistical 


Account. He retorts: "There, is no reason tp 
suppose that the Church of Lauder was originally a chapd of 
ease attached to Channelkirk, and that it was not raised to 
the dignity of a church till the era of the Reformation ; for, 
in the oldest records it is represented as a separate church. 
In the ancient taxation it was valued at 90 merks and that 
of Channelkirk only at 40." Neither minister gives his 
authorities, except a general reference to " old records," and 
in such brief space as the Statistical Accounts could afford, 
we should, perhaps, hardly expect any other. There are 
evidently two points involved here, viz., Was Lauder Church 
originally a " chapel of ease " icapelld) to Channelkirk ? and. 
Was Lauder Church in possession of the dignity of a church 
{ecclesia) before the Reformation ? Perhaps if we consider 
the latter question first, the former may be of easier solution. 
. Referring to Mr Cosen's statement that " in the oldest 
records it is represented as a separate church," if we are 
permitted to strike out the word "separate," the assertion 
must be admitted to be correct. In the charter which is 
given by Richard de Morville to the brethren of the hospital 
of Lauder about the years 11 70 or 11 80, the "ecclesie de 
Louueder" is distinctly mentioned. But the charter itself 
does not emanate from ecclesiastical authorities : authorities, 
that is, sufficiently competent to give any weight to such a 
canonical status. It comes from Richard de Morville, who 
himself was excommunicated, and was at feud with all the 
religious houses around him. Besides, among the witnesses 
to this charter is " Clement, my chaplain." Now, before this 
same time we have in connection with Legerwood, " John, 
the priest" and, likewise, " Godfrey, the priest" in connection 
with Channelkirk. But in the case of the Lauder official, it is 
a chaplaincy which always gives its title to that personage. 


Tru&, this may merely point to the family chapel of the 
) ••■..': i)e'Morvilles. If so, then no mention is made of a priest 
being in Lauder Church till the name of Chapel is also 
attached to it. When Lauder Church comes to be de- 
nominated by proper ecclesiastical authorities, it is some- 
times defined as an ecclesia (church), or capella (chapel). 
One charter, for example, will define it by both terms. This 
is in the first half of the thirteenth century, during a length 
of seventy years after Richard de Morville's charter. Again, 
fully sixty years after this doubtful state of matters, we have 
the same sinister expression, capella de Lawder. In the 
year 1318, when Channelkirk and Lauder are last seen in the 
charters side by side under one minister, the use and wont 
phrase is repeated, " the vicar of Channelkirk shall make 
obedience as well for the Church of Childenkirk as for the 
Chapel of Lauder " {pro ecclesia de Childenkirk quam pro 
capella de Lawder). The said chapel {dicte capelle) is also to 
be served by " one honourable chaplain " {per unum honestum 
capellanum). The minister of Lauder (Mr Cosens) is there- 
fore somewhat justified in saying, in 1833, that "in the oldest 
records it is represented as a separate Church," but he has not, 
it seems to us, weighed sufficiently the circumstances in which 
the oldest records, i.e., the charter of Richard de Morville, 
was given, and also the uncanonical status of those who in that 
charter call the then place of worship in Lauder a " Church." 
That it was "separate" as a church was, of course, the 
matter in dispute between Eymeric and Dryburgh monks. 
Eymeric maintained its patronate constitution with the right 
to call himself rector and uplift the whole teinds with only 
regard for his patron, whereas the monks of Dryburgh dis- 
avowed the patronate and maintained the patrimonial consti- 
tution of Lauder Church, whereby the whole teinds belonged 


to the bishop, and the Abbey of Dryburgh within his diocese, 
as well as the right to appoint any one to serve the cure at 
his discretion. In discussing this question, moreover, it is 
proper that we should bear in mind the distinction which is 
made between the Protestant and Roman Catholic status of 
a " Church." No place of worship can have the status of a 
church under the Roman Catholic hierarchy, unless it has 
been dedicated, or consecrated, by a bishop. And there is 
nothing to show that the Church of Lauder was ever so con- 
secrated. When Bishop de Bernham of St Andrews conse- 
crates Channelkirk, Stow, Earlston, Legerwood, and Gordon, 
he passes by Lauder. Between 1240 and 1250 he wanders 
over all Scotland dedicating churches, but he never touches 
at Lauder. If it had been a " Church " of undoubted 
canonical status before this period the charters would not 
have ventured afterwards to characterise it as a "Chapel." 
So far, therefore, as the weight of ecclesiastical authority is 
concerned (and regarding the status of a church, we do not 
think any other authority is admissible by comparison), the 
truth of facts thus far supports the view of Dr Ford rather 
than that of Mr Cosens. 

Our first question, which we now treat secondly, viz., 
Was Lauder Church originally a chapel of ease to Channel- 
kirk ? seems easier to answer. Perhaps the term " chapel 
of ease" in this connection is not quite applicable. We 
have seen that the place of worship at Lauder in the twelfth, 
thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries, conforms more in its 
canonical status to a "Chapel" than to a "Church." It appears 
to be evident, also, that it was subordinate to the Church of 
Channelkirk for more reasons than one. There is no evidence 
that Lauder Church underwent any degradation on account 
of its priest's conduct. The status he sought to claim for it 


was simply never allowed. He claimed to be under a patron, 
yiz., the successors of Richard de Morville, who, until his 
suspension, must have been William de Morville, Roland of 
Galloway, Allan, his son, and John de Balliol. This claim 
was not sustained for the reasons that by priority of age and 
on account of the parochial jurisdiction over the whole valley 
possessed by Channelkirk Church previous to Hugh de 
Morville's time, and sustained by him until his gift of it' and 
all its pertinents to Dryburgh Abbey, the " Church " or 
" Chapel " of Lauder had no right to teinds in the valley 
unless it had first received them from Channelkirk Church. 
If, indeed, Lauder Church had possessed teinds of its own, 
and these not forcibly possessed, it must have been an 
ecclesia or church, for no mere chapel possessed teinds. 
But its right of teinds was disallowed by the highest 
authorities, or to put it in the words of a distinguished 
Professor of Church History, " If Channelkirk was the 
original church of the valley, and Lauder is found at a later 
date entitled to teinds, these must have been gifted to it 
by Channelkirk, or derived from lands not previously teinded." 
Channelkirk was undoubtedly the original church of the 
valley of Lauderdale, and Lauder is not found later or 
earlier entitled to teinds of any kind, except those which 
Eymeric held by force, but which Dryburgh claimed. And 
Dryburgh Abbey claimed these teinds because, having 
received from Hugh de Morville the Church of Channelkirk 
with all its lands, rights, and pertinents, which it possessed 
" before the Church of Lauder was founded in that place " ; 
and Channelkirk Church having made the Abbey "free as 
regards the teinds which Lauder sued for {absolventes eosdem 
super decimis quas pars altera petebat) ; therefore, all the teinds 
and rights whatsoever which Lauder might claim to possess, 


together with that "Church" or "Chapel" itself, belonged 
legally to the Abbot of the Abbey. That dignitary was 
thus able to make good his position in all the courts in 
virtue of Channelkirk Church having satisfied the following 
necessary conditions: i. Priority of foundation ; 2. primary 
possession of the parochial jurisdiction of the whole valley ; 
3. personally and permanently bequeathed to Dryburgh 
Abbey by the person who alone could confer it ; 4. final 
consent of the Church itself. We must further state the fact 
that this arrangement was maintained as far as we have 
historical accounts to assure us, viz., till the year 1318, and 
there is no evidence to show that it was altered till the 
period of the Reformation. Dryburgh Abbey, the Bishop 
of St Andrews, and the Popes of Rome, on these ecclesiastical 
grounds, wrenched Lauder " Church " or " Chapel " out of the 
hands of Lauder landowners and Lauder priest, together with 
all it held, and they kept it. Two hundred and forty-two 
years elapse between 13 18 and 1560, and it is quite possible 
that other arrangements may have been made for Lauder 
Church. But we can only conjecture. There is no record, 
and we cannot place much stress upon the mention of 
ecdesia in connection with Lauder Church during the 
years between 13 18 and the Reformation, as the language of 
courtesy as well as of use and wont may have confirmed 
that designation. It is not to be supposed that there would 
be any formal erection of Lauder into a parish at that time, 
as its outgrowth of Channelkirk long before in population, 
wealth, and influence, would accomplish that result in- 
dependently. The start which Lauder made in history 
as a burgh, and the progress it showed, seems to have 
been far more fortunate in results than anything its church 
has to record, prior to Protestant times. 



Before the Reformation. 

Godfrey, the Priest — Cuthbert and the Holy Water Cleuch — The First 
Minister in Channelkirk and Lauderdale — The First Church — 
Cuthbert's Fame — Five Hundred Years of Historical Darkness — 
Channelkirk Priest in the Twelfth Century — Papal Taxation — King 
Edward I. in Lauderdale — The Priests Serving Channelkirk and 
Lauder — Troublous Times — Lauder Brig — Moorhousland and 
Lauderdale — Social Life in the Fifteenth Century — Corruption of 
Church and Clergy — Reformation. 

In attempting to give some account of the ministers who 
through so many centuries, and under various religious forms, 
have professed to raise the minds of the people of Channel- 
kirk towards eternal things, it is, perhaps, needless to say 
that the greater number of these must remain unnamed and 
unknown, and of the few whose names have come down to 
us, only the most meagre sketch can be given. It does not 
appear that any of the number, with perhaps one or two 
exceptions, ever rose to such prominence, either in ecclesi- 
astical or secular affairs, as to earn high historical distinction. 
Few, indeed, are the occasions in the parish's history which 
are so stirring, or so fiery as to light up the twilight gloom 
that veils from our sight the actors who from generation 
to generation moved across its boundaries. Before the 


Protestant era the name of one person and one only who can 
be officially called a presbyter or priest in Channelkirk Church 
has filtered down to us through the hard stratum of the 
charters. And even he seems to be mentioned by a kind of 
accident. Richard de Morville (1165-89), in confirming to 
Dryburgh Abbey his gifts of Berwick fishings and the 
tithes of Lauder and Salton mills,* casually mentions that 
Channelkirk in his father's time was held by Godfrey the 

But before the time of this " Godefridus presbyter," there 
must have been several priests in Channelkirk. There seems 
to be no doubt that a church existed there long before the 
time of Hugo de Moreville. We have seen that the author 
of Caledonia deems it not improbable that a place of worship 
may have been in existence there during the Celtic period, 
or before the sixth century. With Bede's account before us, 
and that of the Cocevus Monachus^ both of whom relate 
Cuthbert's religious awakening by the banks of the Leader, 
and his subsequent missionary journeys among the Lammer- 
moor hills, we confidently claim Cuthbert as a minister to 
the Channelkirk people as early at least as the middle of the 
seventh century. Whether or not some rude form of a 
place of worship might then exist on the spot where now a 
church has stood for so long it were rash to assert, but there 
are certain indications that some particular place, specially 
marked as consecrated to religious rites, was then a local 
possession. It is well known, for instance, that, even in 
pagan times, fountains and wells were closely associated with 
the worship of the people. This form of veneration lost 
nothing by the introduction of Christianity. On the contrary, 
if the sainted propagators of the gospel faith found them 
* Dryburgh Charter, No. 8. 


convenient for baptismal purposes, and, not unfrequently, 
they did so find them, then, as a consequence, the pious 
feelings of the inhabitants of such a district were deepened 
with an increased intensity.* Everywhere pagan " means of 
grace " were utilised by Christians, and set into their more 
enlightened ceremonials. Says a distinguished Scottish 
historian "f* : "It may be gathered from other sources that a 
considerable portion of that pagan magic influence, which it 
was desirable to supersede, resided in fountains ; but at the 
same time, the first ceremony of conversion being the rite 
of baptism, is sufficient in itself to account for the extensive 
consecration of fountains." We believe we have such a 
consecrated fountain in the " Holy Water Cleuch." This 
place, so styled yet by the inhabitants of the district, lies 
but a few hundred yards directly west from the Church, and 
its cooling waters still flow fresh and pleasant, and are grate- 
fully prized by both man and beast. The first mention of it 
which we have been able to discover is, indeed, long subse- 
quent to the days of St Cuthbert. It is given in 1588 as the 
western boundary of the " Sucken " of the Kirklands of 
Channelkirk, in a charter granted by King James VI. to 
James Cranstoun, son to Robert Cranstoun of " Faluod- 
scheill " (Fowlshiels, Selkirk). If it was so well known in the 
year 1588, and so well established as to serve as a boundary 
to legal rights and privileges, we may draw the reasonable 
inference that its origin must have been even then deeply 
buried in the traditions of the parish. Nor does it seem that 
any religious or ecclesiastical event, occurring between that 
period and the days of St Cuthbert's ministrations, can be 
legitimately regarded as prominent or important enough to 

* Origines Parochtales, vol. i., pref. xxii. 

t Hill Burton — History of Scotlaiid^ vol. i., p. 220, 


warrant us in supposing that the creation and consecration 
of the name of the fountain, and its preservation by the 
people, have later or weaker associations than those which 
gather round the Church itself. The tradition current 
among the people is, perhaps, the correct one, viz., that 
Cuthbert baptized his converts there when he was wont 
to visit the dwellers " in the mountains, calling back to 
heavenly concerns these rustic people, by the word of his 
preaching as well as by his example of virtue." * This was a 
common practice in his times. Bede, for example, tells us 
that further south, over the Cheviots, among the Northum- 
brians, about the time when Cuthbert would be born. Bishop 
Paulinus " from morning till night did nothing else but 
instruct the people resorting from all villages and places in 
Christ's saving word ; and, when instructed, he washed them 
with the water of absolution in the River Glen (River Bowent), 
which is close by." f 

But was Cuthbert the first minister of the gospel in 
Channelkirk ? Was there not an earlier than he ? We are 
led to ask these questions by the following considerations. 
Cuthbert is said to have been "always inflamed with the 
desire of a religious Vife/rom his very childhood" \ This dis- 
position may have been one of the causes that led his 
guardians to commit him, when a boy, to the care of a certain 
religious inan^ in Lothian [cuidam Lodonico religioso coinmittunt 
viro) ; and as we are told that the place in Lothian was 
afterwards called Childeschirche in honour of Cuthbert, we 
infer that this " pious man " lived at the village or hamlet 

* Bede's Vita S. Cud., chap. ix. 

t Ecclesiastical History, Book II., chap. xiv. 

X Bede's Ecclesiastical History, Book IV., chap, xxvii. 

§ Libellus de Ortu Sancti Cuthberti, chap, xxiii. 


which was subsequently called Childeschirche, on account of 
the Church dedicated to his youthful illustrious protege. 
This pious guardian of the boy Cuthbert must surely have 
had a religious fame strong enough to point him out as a 
proper instructor for such a boy, and it is permissible to 
suppose that his name for sanctity was not gained by his 
private devotions alone. With the bold zeal which seems to 
have characterised pilgrims and preachers of that age, this 
" religious man in Lothian " would, doubtless, in some public 
way, seek to gain his fellowmen to the new faith, and either 
his success, or perhaps proximity to the camp or fort, or the 
nearness of the well or fountain (which may have had 
reverence paid it before Cuthbert's time), may have led him 
to make the original village of Channelkirk his centre of 
operations, and home. If these probabilities be allowed to 
add any weight to the little we know concerning him, then 
the first minister of Channelkirk, for all historical purposes, 
would be this " religious man in Lothian," and his time would 
naturally fall about A.D. 625. 

But at such a distance of time all is necessarily dim and 
shadowy to the view. We have, at most, vague outlines 
of even national movements, and the condition and kind 
of life which such a pious teacher of the people would lead 
in the retired district of Upper Lauderdale must, of course, 
remain totally obscure. Certain historical facts are never- 
theless somewhat luminous to us in a general way. The 
people of the valley were a mixture of Picts and Angles, 
the conquered and the conquerors, and generally, Christians 
and pagans. The Angles would be in a minority though 
the most powerful, but the mass of the population would be 
Celts and slaves. In the time of this "pious man of 
Lothian," the southern boundaries of Lothian stretched 


to the Cheviots, and the Province of the Bernicians * in- 
cluded Haddingtonshire and Berwickshire within its pale. 
Christianity made its way then chiefly by the conversion 
of kings whose faith all who were under their dominion were 
expected to adopt, and, consequently, it had a vacillating 
fortune which rose and fell with the political powers which 
for the time being held the ascendant. Under King ^Eduin 
and Bishop Paulinus, e.g., the Christian faith from 627 
.seemed to flourish and grow vigorously, but this enlightened 
period was suddenly darkened again by a pagan revolution 
under the Anglic King Penda and the apostate Welsh King 
Ceadwalla. Again the sun shone forth in the reign of 
King Oswald, who established the Columban Church in 
Northumbria in 635 ; and the permanent conversion to 
Christianity of the Angles of the eastern districts between 
the Tweed and F'orth, that is, Berwickshire and East Lothian, 
is due to him. But if permanency in the work was due 
to King Oswald, there are indications that shortly before 
him there were pioneers in the same field. Skene says,"f" 
"Tradition seems to indicate that the Cumbrian Church 
did play a part in the conversion of their Anglic neighbours ; 
and the Angles occupying the district between the Tweed 
and Forth, being more immediately within their reach and 
coming directly in contact with them, may have owed their 
conversion to one who was of the satne race as Kenligern.'' 
Channelkirk lies almost midway between these bounding 
waters, and Skene's suggestion gives us liberty to believe 
that more than King Oswald's missionaries were at work 
about this time evangelising the south of Scotland, and 
that the " religious man in Lothian " who took charge of 

♦ Celtic Scotland, vol. ii., p. 198. 
t Ibid., p. 199, 


the boy Cuthbert at Childeschirche may have played a 
not unworthy part in disseminating divine truth among at 
least the denizens of the Lammermoors. Inferior names 
naturally fall into the shade before the more brilliant light 
of those who are superior, and, indeed, are sometimes only 
preserved to sight by the latter, yet while it must be ad- 
mitted that this is the case as regards Cuthbert and his 
guardian, the latter, both by character and the confidence 
reposed in him by Cuthbert's relatives, proves his right to 
deserve respect as one of the heralds of a permanent 
Christian religion in Lothian. Whatever view be held, 
it seems to remain certain at least that as far as Channel- 
kirk is concerned, the person of this " religious man," who 
appears to have resided there about the second decade of 
the seventh century, connects in the earliest historical way 
the existence of the Christian religion with the valley of the 
Leader. It is also possible that his work and influence 
there, supplemented and overshadowed as it afterwards was 
by his more saintly and illustrious pupil, may have laid the 
foundation of the claim which was subsequently sustained 
by the monks of Dryburgh Abbey about 1 248, that Childin- 
chirch was originally "the mother and parish church of the 
whole valley." 

Regarding St Cuthbert, who may be considered justly 
as the second person in the historical succession of Channel- 
kirk ministers, it is unnecessary to narrate here once more 
the story of his illustrious life, seeing that it has been 
told again and again by the ablest pens from the days of 
the Venerable Bede downwards. Some account of him is 
to be found in every history which touches the early 
development of the Christian Church in Scotland. When 
we have perused the Vita, which Bede wrote specially 


concerning him, together with his more disconnected yet 
sympathetic narrative of Cuthbert in his Ecclesiastic History^ 
and Dr Wm. F. Skene's notice in his Celtic Scotland^ we 
have exhausted nearly all that is to be known of the great 
Apostle of southern Scotland, and both comprehensively 
and in detail, with the largest faith and the justest criticism, 
have seen all that is worthy of perusal and respect in his 
life set forth with the highest literary ability. All that 
connects him with Channelkirk has been already quoted 
in other parts of these pages, and both from the fact that 
when Bede links him to any locality whatever, "he was 
keeping watch over the flocks committed to his charge on 
some remote mountains," which historians, such as Skene, 
Green, and Chalmers, have no difficulty in identifying 
as the Lammermoors, and also the traditions which have 
come down to us in prose, poetry, and oral forms, we believe 
that his place among the ministers of Channelkirk parish 
to be reasonably sustained, and we need hardly assert further 
that in all ways he is also the greatest of them. It may, 
indeed, be a unique instance in Scotland that a Church 
should be dedicated to a boy saint, but this seems only to 
give added strength to the chronicles which persistently 
associate Cuthbert's boyhood with us as the principal fact 
of his relation to this parish. Of course " Childe " may 
equally well refer to his youth, and point to his shepherding 

At what date after the death of St Cuthbert a church 
was founded at Channelkirk in his honour it must now 
remain a matter of conjecture. That event occurred on the 
20th day of March 687, and throughout the country his 
memory was preserved with the utmost fervour of devotion. 

* Celtic Scotland^ vol. ii., pp. 201-225, et passim. 



His marvellous asceticism impressed the popular mind to 
a powerful extent, and as in his life he was famed for his zeal 
and eloquence, so after his death his bones were considered 
holy, his flesh incorruptible, and " the very garments which 
had been on his body were not exempt from the virtue of 
performing cures."* As he had been instrumental in diffusing 
the knowledge of the Gospel throughout both Scottish and 
English territory, when his death took place enthusiasm rose 
high ; many churches were dedicated to him ; and probably 
one district at least, Kirkcudbright, named after him. 
Nothing could prove more conclusively how widely his 
memory was venerated. It was also a time of deep religious 
conviction. Bede, casting a comprehensive glance over his 
time (731), says: "Such being the peaceable and calm dis- 
position of the times, many of the Northumbrians, as well 
of nobility as private persons, laying aside their weapons, 
rather incline to dedicate both themselves and their children 
to the tonsure and monastic vows, than to study martial 
discipline." •!• In such a time of pious stirring, it is not 
likely that Cuthbert's memory would be forgotten in Upper 
Lauderdale, although it is quite impossible to venture the 
least surmise as to the precise date when the inhabitants 
of that district resolved to found a church and call it the 
Child's Church, or Childeschirche. One may naturally 
suppose that it would be done when the enthusiasm for his 
name was running high shortly after his decease, but nothing 
definite can be asserted. All is left in profound darkness, 
and the gloom does not merely rest over the ecclesiastical 
affairs of Channelkirk, but extends over the whole country. 
For the period between the seventh and twelfth centuries 

* Bede's Ecclesiastical History , Book IV., chap. xxxi. 
t Ibid.^ Book V., chap, xxiii., Giles' Translation. 


there is but a scintillation of light. " If it be somewhat 
astounding," says Hill Burton,* "to reflect on so enormous 
a blank in the annals of a nation's religion, it is perhaps 
reassuring — it is certainly a matter of great interest in itself — 
that during that long period of obscurity Christianity lived 
on. Not only the faith itself lived — though, as we shall see, 
not always in great purity— but it managed to engraft itself 
with substantial temporal institutions, which gave it solidity. 
In fact, when the church comes to light again, it is with a 
hierarchy and organisation of its own, the origin and forma- 
tion of which, as all grew quietly in the dark, have put at 
defiance the learning and acuteness of our best antiquaries 
to account for." When Channelkirk Church {ecdesid) first 
emerges into historical light in the pages of the charters, 
about 1 1 50, it is not as one newly founded, but with an air of 
long settlement. Its own lands lie around it, and there is a 
regular priest serving the incumbency who has a competent 
maintenance assured to him from its endowments. It 
possesses, in fact, that " solidity " which was acquired from 
its being " engrafted with substantial temporal institutions," 
and is clearly under the " hierarchy and organisation " of 
the Roman Catholic Church. It would appear also that at 
this time no other place of worship with the status of an 
ecclesia existed in Lauderdale as far as historical documents 
seem to guide us. It is also the " solidity " of its settlement 
which leads us to believe that its origin must date from a 
period long anterior to the time when it becomes visible 
in the charters, and perhaps if we place it between the 
seventh and ninth centuries, a time when, it is deemed, many 
churches sprang into existence, we shall not be accused of 
rashly outraging the probabilities which He latent in the 
* History of Scotland^ vol. i., p. 390. Second Edition, 1873. 


facts of its history. Knowing, as we do, the popular 
enthusiasm that burned around the memory of St Cuthbert 
wherever his voice had been heard or his footsteps had 
wandered, kno\ying also that in these dark centuries the tribal 
community held all the land in common, a remnant of which 
system still retains its hold in our valley, it is not too much 
to suppose that a common devotion would gladly make a 
common sacrifice of labour and land sufficient to rear a 
church in his honour, and maintain a qualified preacher of 
the Word. It was in 1 107 that Earl David, afterwards 
David I., came into possession of Lauderdale, and disposed 
it to the Norman Baron Hugo de Morville, who thereby came 
into possession of the advowson of Channelkirk Church 
probably about 11 30. In the charters which define the gifts 
of Hugo to Dryburgh Abbey and Convent, Channelkirk 
Church is often, mentioned as his gift to it, but there is no 
trace whatever of his having gifted land to Channelkirk 
Church either in support of its priest or for any other 
purpose. Nor is it said that any of the family of the De 
Morvilles ever gave land to Channelkirk Church at any 
time. But there are distinct statements made of the church 
possessing land in the time of the first of the De Morvilles, 
and we naturally conclude that the church had been endowed 
with land before the De Morvilles received it from David I., 
and that they had found the church settled and endowed 
on their coming into Lauderdale. The fact also, it may 
be pointed out in passing, that the church was fully equipped 
and endowed at such a time when the affairs of the country 
were in such transition, and also considering that such a 
church existed in such a hilly and inaccessible situation, and 
not on the more open and convenient ground further down 
the valley, is to us further evidence that more than ordinary 

THE MINISTP:RS and their times 117 

causes must have co-operated to fix the church in that spot, 
and give it such consolidation so early. Following the view 
of Professor Innes, we are perhaps safe in assuming for 
Channelkirk what he asserts with regard to the possessions 
of the See of Glasgow,* viz., that its endowments must 
have been made in very early times, seeing that during 
the dark periods of confusion and anarchy which immediately 
preceded the reign of David I. it is not probable that the 
church received any accession of property. 

It is nearly a century and a half after these political and 
ecclesiastical changes have passed over the country that we 
meet with the name of the first minister of Channelkirk, 
who is officially designated " presbyter " or priest. It occurs 
in Charter 8 of the Regis truin de Dry burgh. It must have 
been a short time after the year 1 162 when Hugh de Morville 
died. Richard, his son, is confirming his father's gift of 
Channelkirk to that Abbey, and, as we have noted above, 
after handing over the fishings of Berwick and the tithes of 
Lauder and Salton Mills to the brethren there, he says : 
" Besides, I concede, I confirm to the same church my 
father's donations, which, with himself, he gave to the same 
brethren, namely, the Church of Childenchirch with all those 
pertinents with which Godfrey, the priest, held it on the 
day in which my father assumed the canonical habit." 

It is curious to reflect on the miscellaneous racial com- 
position of a parish's foundations upon which the modern 
superstructure rests. Here the Danish-descended Godfrey 
fills the office of spiritual guide to a composite population of 
Celts and Angles, while the proud Norman lords it over the 
territory and gives gifts from it at his will. This charter 
also gives outline to a fact which does not seem to be 
* Origines Parochiales, pref. xxiv. 


generally known, viz., that Hugo de Morville, after leading a 
chequered career in royal courts and battlefields, quietly laid 
aside his soldier's armour and entered Dryburgh Abbey to 
die in the odour of sanctity. On the day when he dons the 
dress of the monks, it is interesting to note that he bears 
in his hand the gift of Channelkirk with all its land and 
pertinents. This, of course, was not an unusual occurrence. 
There is an evident reference to another charter which is 
now lost concerning the gift of Channelkirk Church. In the 
first charter with which Dryburgh Register opens, viz., No. 
6, the title runs, " A Confirmation concerning the fore- 
mentioned donations," etc. It is more than probable that 
a further glimpse into the earlier history of the church would 
have been given us had the lost charters been preserved. But 
from what we possess, it is abundantly clear that the church 
was well settled with its land and officiating priest when 
Hugh de Morville gifted it to Dryburgh Abbey. We are 
told, moreover, in this first given charter, which is from 
King Malcolm IV., and must date 1 1 53-1 165, that the Kirk 
Land lay adjacent to it. Presbyter Godfrey would in all 
likelihood have his residence upon it, though he would not 
be married, owing to David's reforms, and there are reasons 
for assuming that the west part of the present glebe may 
have been known to Godfrey as part of the endowments of 
the church, and it is not unlikely that it stretched as far as 
to include the " Holy Water Cleuch." 

It must have been about this time, indeed, and certainly 
before 1 1 89, that the Lord of Glengelt gave seven acres to 
the church, and these are said to lie to the east of it. The 
fact also that the "Sucken" of the Kirk Lands in 1588 is 
bounded on the south by the Haugh and " Kirk Watter " or 
Mountmill Burn, and the " Halywattercleuch " on the west. 


points to the early possession of land in that direction. 
The church must have been early entirely surrounded by 
its own lands, and from its name, the farm of Kirktonhill or 
Kirklandhill itself may have been situated on them. 

It is nearly a hundred years later, viz., about 1248, that 
any further glimpse of Channelkirk ministers is discernible, 
and while very much in the foreground, they are unfortunately 
mere nameless forms. They are seen doing their duty 
faithfully, and receiving extra compensation for extra services, 
but the designations by which they are known in the body 
are sunk in oblivion. The reason why they are visible 
in the charters at all is the suspension sine die of Lauder 
priest by the Pope, and the necessity for supplying the 
vacant charge. Charters Nos, 40 and 41 are of the year 
1268. The vicar who serves in Channelkirk Church is 
appointed to officiate as well in the " Chapel of Lauder," and 
for his extra work he is to receive from Dryburgh Abbey and 
Convent ten pounds annually at the two terms, Pentecost 
and Martinmas. No doubt this Channelkirk vicar did his 
duty loyally, both to his own and to the Lauder flock com- 
mitted to his care. How much we should like at this distant 
date to know but his name, and how he relished the six 
miles' journey to and fro in the winter storms, and what his 
private opinion was about the obstinate and pugnacious 
Eymeric, the practically deposed priest. He must also have 
heard of the stirring doings in Stow in 1268. All of him is 
spectral enough now, and our interrogations wander vainly 
across six hundred years. 

Gameline, " by divine compassion the humble servant of 
Saint Andrew's Church," and who writes Charter 40, does not 
seem to have been familiar with his name, for the double 
duties are imposed, generally, on him " who shall minister at 


Channelkirk." Prior John follows with Charter 41 on the 
same dim lines, but the general terms were perhaps written 
with a purpose, for their instructions were to last, not for 
one vicar's lifetime, but for many years after this one's duties 
were done. The Pope's curse withered the priests out of 
Lauder from 1248 onwards. 

Later in the century two events transpired above the 
historical horizon which must have affected Channelkirk 
Church to a certain degree, and stirred her priests with 
various emotions. The first was the inauguration of those 
encroachments of the Pope upon Scotch clerics by way of 
extracting money out of them, a process which was bitterly 
resented for nearly three hundred years, that is, from 1275 
till 1560. " In 1254 Innocent IV. gave Henry III. of England 
one-twentieth of the ecclesiastical revenues of Scotland for 
three years to help in crusade.* But Henry's gain was even 
more slender than the Pope's right to give. In 1268 
Clement IV. increased this airy gift to one-tenth in favour 
of Henry's son. This time the Scots saved their cash and 
evaded both England and Rome by offering payment in 
soldiers. In 1275 a legate came to Scotland to collect in 
person this one-tenth. His name was Benemundus or 
Boiamund de Vicci, but he is best known as Bagimond, 
possibly as a joke on his bagging or begging mission. The 
device tried on him was a dispute and appeal whether the 
one-tenth was to be on the old or the present valuation. 
The poor legate had to trudge back to Rome for the 
Pope's decision, which was in favour of the latter. The roll 
so made out is still extant, and is the best authority for old 
church wealth. Between 1275 and 1560 many a sore 
exaction was made on Scotch clerics accord incr to this 


* The Church of Scotland, vol. ii., p. 283, 1890. 


fleecing tariff, especially when the chief benefices fell vacant. 
In Dr James Raine's Priory of Coldingham* under " Papal 
Taxation of Churches and Monasteries in Scotland," we have 
under "Dryburge" Childenechirche valued at XXX' (;^3o), 
and Lauder at 68' 14' {£62>, 14s.). Channelkirk is said to 
be a " Vicaria" in the Decanatus de Merske, verus valor = X', 
decima = XX. This is very early in the reign of Edward I., 
who ascended the throne in 1272. The Ancient Taxatio is 
preserved in the Registers of St Andrew's Priory, Arbroath, 
and Dunfermline, and in these we find Channelkirk valued at 
40 marks, Stow at 70, Lauder at 80, 7s. lod., Legerwood at 40, 
Smailholm at 45, and Gordon at 30. The " mark " seems 
to have rated in Scotland at 13s. 4d. "In 1284 Scottish 
money was permitted to be current in England at its 
full value.-f Channelkirk tax money went, of course, to 
Dryburgh Abbey, thence to Coldingham, thence to Rome, 
according to the following % : " Taxation of the Abbey of 
Dryburgh by the Abbot of Coldingham, as collector under 
the grant made by the Pope to Henry III. and Edward I. of 
England, of the tithes of Scotch benefices in aid of the Holy 
Land " (c. 1 290). " Childenechirche " is set down for " XXX.'" 
The other event was of a more exciting kind, and must 
have aroused in Lauderdale an immense commotion. This 
was no less an incident than the invasion of Scotland by 
Edward I. in 1296, in order to put down the rebellious Sir 
William Wallace. It was summer, in the leafy month of 
June, when the valley smiles its sweetest, that the angry 
tramp of warriors everywhere resounded in Berwickshire. 
Edward subdued Dunbar Castle on 28th April, on Wednes- 

* Surtees Society, 1841. 

t Cochran-Patrick's Coinage of Scotland. Introduction, cix. 

} Dryburgh Register, p. 329. 


day, 2nd May, he was at Haddington, and on the 6th at 
Lauder, having crossed the Lammermoors ; thence to Rox- 
burgh next day. But on 5th June he was at Lauder once more, 
and crossed Soutra to Newbattle, thence to Edinburgh. 
History tells his story afterwards. In the year of 1298, he 
came into Scotland again, still bent on its subjugation, and 
we seem to see his royal progress with clearer eyes in the 
account left of it.* Mr Gough "f has traced the king's progress 
up through Lauderdale. " On the 3rd, 5th, and 6th July, 
King Edward was at Roxburgh. Here he found himself at 
the head of a powerful army, which is stated to have consisted 
of 8000 horse and 80,000 foot, chiefly Irish and Welsh. 
From Roxburgh he marched towards the Forth." It is not 
to be supposed that the king with his entire army confined 
themselves to Lauderdale. A portion of the host must have 
gone round by Dunbar. On the 7th July Edward was at 
Redpath, a village south from Earlston two miles. On the 
9th day he reached Lauder, and at this place he makes the 
following sad memorandum : — 

" Adam de Monte Alto vallettus Regis, qui, etc., in parti- 
bus Scocie Moratur, etc. — 

Teste Rege apud Loweder, ix die Julii." 

" Adam de Montalt (Mowat), valet of the king, who died 
in parts of Scotland. The king witnesseth, at Lauder, 9th 
day of July." 

King Edward passes up through the dale by the road 
which then, as later, was the main highway between Scotland 
and the South, and it is probable that King William the 

* Documents Illustrative of the History of Scotland {K^v. Jos. Steven- 

t Scotland in 1 298. By Henry Gough, Barrister. A. Gardner, Paisley, 


Conqueror, two centuries earlier, trod the same way when 
he marched through Lothian into Scotia. So near to this 
highway was the manse of Channelkirk built in later times, 
that when necessity urged a new wing being added, in 1863, 
to its north side, the road had to be diverted to allow it to be 
done, and the dining-room now stands upon the highway 
over which, doubtless, the king toilsomely pursued his 
hill journey across the Lammermoors. Fala and Dalhousie 
were next overtaken, and on the nth he reached Braid, 
in the immediate south-west vicinity of Edinburgh. "His 
progress was interrupted by no hostile forces, but scarcity 
and sickness rendered the position of his army extremely 

One can scarcely imagine the consternation into which 
Channelkirk population would be thrown, and its priest 
among the rest, at the march past of such an embattled 
host, with a warrior so redoubtable as Edward at its head. 
Knowing how bitterly the English and Scotch hated each 
other, it is a reasonable surmise that the defenceless people 
fled to the hills and glens around them, and hid in safety till 
the ravaging Irish and Welsh soldiers had vanished over 
Soutra. It is probable that his men were no more merciful 
than those of Cromwell in 1650, and would plunder all in 
their track, not sparing even the "poors' box." Every 
patriotic Scotsman must lament that the battle of Falkirk 
which followed did not support the policy of fire and starva- 
tion by which Wallace sought to free his countrymen from 
English despotism. This was not to be accomplished till the 
new century brought a new hero to the rescue of Scottish 
liberty, and 13 14 saw Bruce and Bannockburn redeem the 
disaster of Falkirk, and the barbarous butchery of the Knight 
of Elderslie. 


In the year 1318, four after Bannockburn, and the same 
that saw the siege of Berwick go fiercely forward, the Dry- 
burgh charters permit us to see once more a kind of adum- 
bration or silhouette of Channelkirk priest. It is " Willelmus 
de Lamberton " who speaks, the bishop of St Andrews, 
and well-known as " Wallace's Bishop." The clergy have 
always been warmer patriots than the aristocracy. His own 
cathedral of St Andrews was consecrated this year, but he 
was interested also in the remoter churches of his great 
diocese, and as already noticed, he continued the provisional 
arrangement by which " the priest who shall minister in the 
church at Childenkirk shall also make obedience for the 
church at Childenkirk as well as for the chapel at Lauder," 
and for which he is to receive the stipulated remuneration of 
ten pounds yearly. Dryburgh Abbey is to see that Lauder 
Chapel is served by " one honourable chaplain." 

How long this condition of things lasted, and Channel- 
kirk priest faced the heat of summer and the storms of 
winter between Lauder and his own hill-dwelling in per- 
forming his spiritual duties, we cannot venture to say. Our 
view of the case, such as it is, has been stated in a preceding 
chapter, and all the poor light which we have been able to 
shed there on the melancholy case cannot be said to do more 
than make the darkness visible. From 13 18 till 1560 we 
calculate 242 years. A terribly wide space of impersonal 
history, assuredly ! Not a whisper comes to us through all 
these years of a priest being in Channelkirk, though, without 
the slightest demur, we may freely assume that prayer and 
praise arose, as of old, upon the steep hillside to Him who 
has been the dwelling-place of men in all generations, and 
that the voice of the priest ceased not, through these unre- 
corded times, to counsel the living and comfort the dying. 


Nor would he himself fail to " allure to better worlds and lead 
the way." Only the general features of the parish emerge 
now and then through the heavy mist that envelops its 
history. The Oxton Mill, for example, is seen still steadily 
grinding out meal to the healthy inhabitants in 1380, and 
one fondly hopes there was corn for it to grind eight years 
later, when such a dreadful famine fell upon the country. In 
the following century, Kirktonhill is seen in the hands of the 
Moubrays ; Glengelt, Bowerhouse, and Collielaw in the 
possession of the Borthwicks, first ennobled in 1433 ; * 
Crookston, first known to them in 1446. In the fifteenth' 
century the Setons are in Hartside and Glints ; Headshaw is 
clear in 1494; in 1539, John Tennant, favourite of the king, 
owns the Howdens, Over and Nether ; while it is certain 
Carfrae, Bowerhouse, Collielaw, and Over Howden were 
building peels for their defence about 1535, though one or 
two of these places may have had such " strengths " before 
that period. But while the chief places in the parish are all 
very well defined, the church and its priest, as we have said, 
are invisible. In the year 1535, the year of "bigging" of 
peels, the " Kyrk of Chyndylkyrk " floats upward into light 
of day through the power and buoyancy of the teinds. The 
monks of Dryburgh note in their " Rentals," " The kyrkis 
that payis syluer " to them ; and so the " Item be Cudbart 
Cranstone and Maister Robert Formane," viz., ;^66, 13s. 4d., 
comes into their hands onward from the above date till 1580, 
the same fact being noted also in the years 1540, 1545, 1555, 
and 1560-70. 

While the parish and its church are thus seen in dim 
eclipse during two and a half centuries, the events of the 
nation's history nevertheless shed a twilight reflection upon 
* Douglas's Peerage. 



it, which is not unwelcome. All Lauderdale was raided and 
ravaged by the English in 1406-7, for example, and Channel- 
kirk, with the rest of its population, would be called upon to 
defend both life and property. These were the days when 
Scotland had but one object before her in all her policies, 
laws, and pleasures, viz., " Our enemy of England," and when 
England as heartily considered " our adversary of Scotland," 
and the Borderland glowed with lurid auroras from blazing 
fields and burning villages ; spectacles which, though fiery 
enough, yet only feebly embodied the fierce passions which 
•flamed in the hearts of men. Raidings and ravishings were 
common, and retaliation and revenge the spur of all actions, 
public or private. And as the Douglas went forth from his 
Castle of Dalkeith to wind up his adventure in the battle of 
Otterburn, 1388, it is hard to doubt that he led his men by 
any other road than over Soutra and down Lauderdale ; 
enlisting, perhaps, some of Channelkirk warriors on his way ! 
But strife and bloodshed were not only common between 
Englishmen and Scotsmen — Scotland was rent by the 
tumult of rival houses and factions, and was in the throes 
of incipient civil war. The great house of Douglas almost 
overtopped that of royalty itself, and the king's very crown 
stood in hazard. Powerful nobles were seditious and dis- 
contented. Rebellion was constantly present in every man's 

This state of matters received ample illustration in 1482, 
in the affair of Lauder Brig, and no small commotion and 
consternation must have prevailed in the dale at this time on 
account of this daring massacre. King James the Third was 
indolent and feeble, and too readily shifted the cares of 
government on to other shoulders than his own. If he had 
always chosen worthy men for this purpose little harm might 


have followed, but his favourites appear to have been 
frivolous, unworthy, and incapable. The hearts of his slighted 
nobles boiled with indignation at such low prostitution of 
the royal prerogative, and they nourished revenge against 
low-born men who, they considered, could have few principles 
or instincts in common with the king, and whose training and 
inclinations scarcely fitted them to be counsellors to the 
ruler of a kingdom which contained much inflammable 
material. The mutinous nobles had an army at Lauder, 
where the king was staying with his doomed and despised 
pets. The suggestion of death needed little breath to 
formulate it. The nobles discussed the project in private, 
and Lord Gray pawkily told the story of the mice and the 
cat, with the tacit proposition underlying it, of course, as to 
which of the discontented noble " mice " should venture to 
put the bell round the king's neck. Archibald Douglas, 
Lord of Angus, gained the name by which he was ever 
afterwards known, by promptly volunteering to Bell the Cat. 
The royal pets were seized, summarily tried, and swiftly 
hurried to Lauder Bridge, which then spanned the Leader 
somewhat further up the river than it does now, and nearer 
to the Castle, and were there ignominiously hanged like 
unwelcome puppies over its side. But this was, perhaps, the 
more trifling part of the conspiracy. They next proceeded 
to seize the king, and as he was led from Lauder Fort a 
humbled captive onwards and up through the dale, destined 
for Edinburgh prison, we can but faintly realise how deeply 
Channelkirk would be moved at the tidings and the spectacle. 
It was the crisis in a tragedy which only closed in the king's 
murder at Sauchieburn, and with all the results before us of 
that bitter outburst of angry and neglected nobles, the en- 
forced royal progress through Channelkirk, past the church, 


and across the bleak Soutra, itself emblematic of the king's 
fortunes, we cannot but mingle deep sympathy for the 
hapless James with our interest in the wretched pageant. 
Our people are more clearly seen fifty years later in the Earl 
of Northumberland's account to Bluff King Hal of an inroad 
of the Scots on the 21st of November 1532.* Deep must have 
been the hatred of the foe to send men at such a time of year 
to the raid and foray. The brunt of the scrimmage was 
about the Ale Water and beneath the Cheviots. Three 
thousand men were on the Scottish side, " and thair captains," 
says the Earl, " was the lard of Sesford, warden of the middle 
marche, the lard of Buckleugh, John Carre, sone and heyr to 
Dand Ker of Farnyhirst, with all the hedesmen of the 
forrist, with all Teviotdaill on horsbake and foot ; cccc tryed 
men from the west parte of the marche, and all th' inhabitants 
of the forrest of Gedworth ; and all the best tryed men of 
Moorhowsland and Lauderdaill, under the Lord Buckleughe!' 
" Moorhowsland " is a designation of Lammermoor, and one 
part of the district, at least, was known later as the " lands 
of Kirktonhill in Channelkirk,"f through which, on the old 
road, Buccleuch would march going south. They were too 
many for the English, and "most contemptuously had into 
Scotland diverse persons, with great number of horse, nolte, 
and sheipe." 

It may gratify the curious to take a glimpse at the 
manner of life to which our Channelkirk people were 
accustomed about 1450. Turbulence and mutiny among the 
higher classes of a nation seldom mean less than oppression 
and straitened means of living among the lower. In the 
winter of 1435, i^neas Silvius Piccolomini, afterwards Pope 

* Monastic Annals of Teviotdale, p. n^ note. 
\ Sasines, May 19, 1707. 


in Rome, undertook a journey to Scotland to procure the 
favour of the king for a certain prelate.* The English would 
grant him no passport, and he had to find his way by the 
Netherlands to Edinburgh, The storms on his voyage ex- 
torted a vow from him to pay a pilgrimage to the shrine of 
Our Lady at Whitekirk in East Lothian. The general view 
of social comfort and discomfort which he saw in the Lothians 
cannot differ very widely from what obtained in Lauderdale. 
He was amazed to see coal first on his way to Edinburgh, 
most likely in the Dalkeith district. The "stones" were 
joyfully received as alms by half-naked beggars who stood 
shivering at the church doors. He says Scotland is a 
cold, bleak, wild country, producing little corn, yielding coal, 
but for the most part without wood. Cities had no walls ; 
the houses were built mostly without lime, with no roofs 
except turf in towns, and an oxhide doing duty as door. 
The common people were poor and rude, ate plenty of flesh 
and fish, but wheaten bread was only to be had as a luxur}-. 
Scottish people at this time, it seems, were taunted by 
Englishmen with eating oatcakes, a preference which asserts 
itself in the " Land o' Cakes " yet. The men were small in 
stature, he says, but bold : the women of fair complexion, 
good-looking, and amorous ; kissing in Scotland going for 
less than handshaking in Italy. It seems that his comparison 
might have included Spain, France, Denmark, and the Low 
Countries. Scotch people had no wine except what was 
imported. Their horse possessions were nags, mostly 
geldings, uncurried, uncombed, and used without bridles. 
Nothing, he remarks, delights the Scots more than abuse 
of the English ! Evidently it was a rough, bellicose time, 
when both life and property were not highly esteemed. It 

* Concilia Scotice^ pref., p. xci. 



does not improve either with a hundred years, and a similar 
condition to that which we now quote may have actually 
existed in the days of Piccolomini's visit. In 1570, 
Lauderdale men are called upon to unite against Queen 
Mary's party, from the age of 16 to 60.* "The quhilk day, 
my Lord Regent's grace and Lords of Secreit Counsell under- 
standing how the peaceabile and guid subjects, inhabitants of 
the cuntries of Merse, Lammermure, Lowtheane, Lawderdaill, 
etc., ar hevilie oppressit throw the daylie and continwale 
stowthes, reiffis, heirschippis, birningis, slawchteris, and 
depredationes off the theves and tratouris of the surnames 
of Eliot, Armestrang, Nicksoune, Croser, etc., etc., sa that 
the peaceabill and guid subjects ar maid unhabill for the 
Kingis service, and gryt pairties of the incuntrie appeirand 
to be laid waist," and, in short, seeing the promise these 
thieves made (the business is of long standing evidently) of 
peaceableness has not been honoured, and they "cease not 
to commit maist crewell and odious crymes," they are to be 
pursued by fire and sword, and, what is more, now is the 
time to be up and at them, seeing that " thair is sufficient 
horse meit to be haid on the feildis" (it is the month of 
October or November), " and the cornis and hay of the saidis 
thevis standing in stakis and riggis." They are then pro- 
claimed as thevis, traitorous, and peace brekkers, etc., 
and all worthy gentlemen, Erles, Lordes, Barons, etc., 
between the Borders and Aberdeen are to prepare them- 
selves in the maist weirlyk maner, and are to be ready with 
twenty days' provisions, " and with palzeonis and careage 
to ly on the fieldis " in order to put down the spoiling 

There is small doubt that much of the disorder pre- 
* Privy Council. 


vailing in Lauderdale and elsewhere at this time and for 
a hundred years previous was due to the relaxed conditions 
of moral and spiritual example which obtained in the 
churches throughout the land. The shepherds were idle, 
asleep, or worse, and the sheep strayed afar. If our informa- 
tion regarding this were drawn only from Protestant sources, 
we might be inclined to set it down to partisan malignity. 
But the blackest record is from Romish councils of that 
remarkable age. In 1549* a General Convention and Pro- 
vincial Council was held at Edinburgh on 27th November, 
when the business was preceded by decided and astonishing 
confessions that the root and cause of the troubles and 
heresies in the Church were the corruption, profane lewdness, 
and the gross ignorance of churchmen of almost all ranks. 
The clergy in the canons or rules drawn out then, were 
enjoined " to put away concubines under pain of deprivation 
of benefices, to dismiss from their houses children born to 
them in concubinage, not to promote such children to 
benefices, nor to enrich them, the daughters with dowries, 
the sons with baronies, from the patrimony of the Church. 
Prelates were not to keep in their houses manifest drunkards, 
gamblers, whoremongers, brawlers, nightwalkers, buffoons, 
blasphemers, swearers ; were to amend their manners and 
lives, dress modestly and gravely, keep their faces shaven, 
and heads tonsured, live soberly and frugally, so as to have 
more to spare for the poor, and to abstain from secular 
pursuits, especially trading." The "heresies" that were 
abroad were inveighed against at the same council. These 
were : speaking against Church rites, especially mass, baptism, 
confirmation, extreme unction, penance, contempt of Church 
censures, scorn of saint-worship, purgatory, images, fasts and 
* Concilia Scoficp, pref., p. cxlix. 


festivals, and general council's authority. Heretical books 
were to be burned, especially poems and ballads against 
Church or Clergy. Burns was not the first, it seems, to 
scourge with satire and merciless laughter the poor failings 
of the Holy Willies. 

So did this Edinburgh Provincial Council in 1 549 enjoin 
and ordain. They might have saved their zeal. The pro- 
fligate clergy and people went on their accustomed ways. 
In 1552, three years afterwards, the General Provincial 
Council meets once more in Edinburgh, bent on the same 
reforming work. The vices and villainous manners of the 
times are still further dwelt upon, and catalogued with closer 
attention to particulars. It is owned that the rules laid 
down at the last council have been of no effect. Provision 
is then made to enforce statutes for preaching to the 
people, teaching theology and canon law in cathedrals and 
monasteries, examining curates and vicars, securing the faith- 
ful administration of deceased persons' goods, and for visiting 
hospitals. Other provisions are made to prohibit clandestine 
marriages, careful trial of divorce cases, greater publicity to 
excommunications, and for preventing the alienation of 
manses and glebes. One of the rules set forth that even 
in the most populous parishes very few of the parishioners came 
to mass or sermon ; that jesting and irreverence in time of 
service went on within the church, and sports and secular 
business in the porch and churchyard. It is, therefore, 
enacted that the name of every person wilfully absenting 
himself from his parish church shall be taken down by the 
curate and reported to the rural dean, and that all traffic 
in church porches, in churchyards, or in their immediate 
neighbourhood, be forbidden on Sundays and other holidays 
during divine worship. This council also established parish 


registers of baptisms and marriages. The curate was to 
enter every proclamation of banns, the name of the infant 
baptized, the names of the parents, godfathers, godmothers, 
and two witnesses to the baptism. The baptisms do not 
seem to have been celebrated then any more than in the 
present day, " in the face of the congregation." Registrations 
of deaths appear to have been provided for by other 
ordinances, one as early as the fourteenth century. (See 
Synodal Statute of Diocese of St Andrews, Sir J. Balfour's 

This deplorable lapse into semi-paganism over all Scot- 
land somewhat reconciles us to our lack of further knowledge 
regarding Channelkirk Church and its priest before the 
Reformation. We cannot presume that he and it kept 
their heads higher than the rest above the muddy floods of 
immorality and profligacy which prevailed above even the 
mountain tops of the national Zion. Not unlikely, the only 
information that could have come down to us would have 
been of such a nature as to raise a deeper blush for the 
successors of St Cuthbert and the place founded in his 
honour, and it may be easier for us in our present ignorance 
to give them a higher niche of sanctity and esteem than if 
we had all their history told us in all its ghastly veracity, and 
could have traced with sadness "each step from splendour 
to disgrace." 

With the advent of the Reformation we step from the 
tumbling floes of treacherous conjectures and surmises on to 
the firm soil of historical record, and hail with delight the face 
of another minister of Channelkirk. Ecclesiastical fortune 
had indeed turned her wheel. Whereas we left Channel- 
kirk priests, in 1318, doing double duty for Channelkirk and 
Lauder ; when 1 567 arrives, and seven years of Protestantism 


have passed over the nation, we find Lauder minister 
supplying Channelkirk, as well as his own church at Lauder. 
Population, wealth, and the new energies at last asserted 
themselves, and the ghostly power of Rome withered in 
the dust. 


After the Reformation 

Seven Years after the Reformation — Ninian Borthuik — John Gibsoun, 
Reader — Alexander Lauder — King James VI. and I., and Episcopacy 
— Famine — Allan Lundie — Francis Collace — Henry Cockbum — 
Report on Church and Parish in 1627 — The Teinds — Knox's In- 
dictment against the Scottish Nobility — Lord Erskine — Suspension 
and Deposition of Cockbum — Suffers "great miserie" — Preaches at 
Earlston — His Lawsuit — His Restoration to Channelkirk — His 

Ninian Borthuik 

In the " Register of Ministers, Exhorters, and Readers, with 
their Stipends," of date 1567, there is this statement under 
" Lauderdaill " :— 

Lauder Mr Ninian Borthuik, Minister, xl lib. with the thryd 

Chynkilkirk of his prebendrye extending to xj lib. 2s. 2d. lob. 

It is seven years after the Reformation, and the desolation 
of the churches is still evident. When the priests were cut 
adrift, many churches were left without any person of 
sufficient status and ordination to conduct divine services for 
the people. The consequence was, that one minister had 
often charge of two and three parish churches. Here Mr 
Ninian Borthuik not only officiates in his own parish of 
Lauder, but has also Channelkirk under his care. It does 


not appear that any further light can be shed upon his 
identity, and ecclesiastical arrangements remained in this 
condition till 1574, when we are informed that Borthuik was 
translated from Lauder to Bassendean, near Westruther, 
where he had also Legerwood and Earlston under his super- 

John Gibsoun 

In 1576, two years afterwards, John Gibsoun is Reader 
in the church of Channelkirk, and, it would appear, continued 
so till perhaps 1584, when Mr Alexander Lauder, M.A., 
fourth minister at Lauder after the Reformation, " was pre- 
sented to the Vicarage of Schingilkirk by James VI., on 15th 
April 1586, and continued till 20th July 161 3." 

This looks as if Mr Lauder had been ordained minister 
of Channelkirk, though it was not so, and was merely the 
result of the sinister circumstances of the age. In 1572, the 
year of Knox's death, Episcopacy took shape at Leith Con- 
cordat as a likely national form of Scottish religion, and 
perhaps, if Andrew Melville had been silenced, and fairer 
treatment given to parish ministers, it might have blossomed 
into strength and favour, and continued to be the established 
form of Scottish religion till this day. But at that time deep- 
rooted bitterness was engendered by the way in which 
noblemen used Episcopacy to snap up the Church's patri- 
mony more easily, and with greater show of legal right, and 
also by the nefarious and fraudulent treatment of the clergy 
by Regent Morton, who would appear to have favoured 
Episcopacy. Ministers who fondly thought themselves 
secured in a conipetence were sometimes rudely deceived 
in realising that no stipend was to be forthcoming. The 
stipends, in short, were grossly 'mismanaged. They were to 


be drawn from the " Thirds " as it was termed. These were 
collected by the superintendents, and distributed to ministers 
and readers. Regent Morton undertook to collect these 
himself, with the result that stipends were often refused to 
ministers, and themselves put to sore straits. The Regent, 
where he found cases like Lauder and Channelkirk, with a 
minister in one and a reader in the other, put both parishes 
into one to save a reader's stipend, and pocketed the reader's 
salary. When Lauder minister is " presented " with Schingil- 
kirk vicarage, he was not thereby minister of Channelkirk. 
The king, at this date, was a mere boyish tool in the hands 
of his nobles. For, in the year 1573, it is said,* "as con- 
cerning the appointing of sundrie kirks to ane minister. . , 
That howbeit sundrie kirks be appointit to ane man ; yet sail 
the minister make his residence at ane kirk, quhilk sail be 
properlie appointit to his charge, and he sail be callit princi- 
pallie the minister of that kirk ; and as concerning the rest of 
the kirks to the quhilks he is nominat, he sail have the over- 
sight thereof and help them in sick sort as the Bishop, Super- 
intendent, and Commissioner, sail think expedient, and as 
occasion sail serve from his awin principall charge, the quhilk 
he in no wayes may neglect," 

Alexander Lauder 

Mr Lauder's " presentation," therefore, to the " vicarage of 
Schingilkirk," was merely to its " oversight," and to " help " it 
as his superiors deemed best. As we now say, he " supplied " 
Channelkirk, but was minister of Lauder only.i* 

It was in 161 1 that Channelkirk first received a minister 
to be exclusively the ordained ecclesiastical official in the 

* Booke of the Universall Kirk, p. 296. 
+ See Church of Scotland, vol. ii., p. 459. 


parish. From 1560 to 161 1 counts fifty-one years ; so slowly 
did the spiritual machinery of the nation fall into working 
order. Looking to the actual dislocation of almost every 
institution in the country, this state of affairs might have 
been regarded as calamitous if the ultimate benefits had not 
far outweighed the political, social, and religious disadvan- 
tages. From 1560 till 1610, all the elements of good and 
bad in the nation had declared themselves, and were, indeed, 
in full contention for mastery. And as every rock and skerry 
in the most inland creek feels finally the force of the tidal 
wave that courses round the world, so remote Channelkirk, 
in intermittent " supplies," and in deprivation of a minister 
through that half century, had also its share of the miseries 
of the national changes. 

Regarding the reader, it is perhaps necessary to explain 
that he "was an interim substitute for a fully-trained 
clergyman, so long as the clergy were scarce. He did not 
baptize, or marry, or celebrate the communion, but in certain 
cases he conducted the ordinary service of the Church — a 
matter then more easy, inasmuch as a printed prayer-book 
was in regular use. In dealing with Scripture, the reader 
was allowed to add a few words explanatory or hortative ; 
but he was cautioned not to be too long, nor to attempt 
preaching, properly so called. A trace of this early office 
still meets us in the popular name of lectern or lettern applied 
to the precentor's desk. The office itself still survives in the 
Swiss Church, and partly in the Church of England, where 
the lessons are often read by laymen. A large proportion of 
our country churches, for some time after the Reformation, 
had readers only, who were also the first schoolmasters." * 

During the years that Alex. Lauder bravely faced the 
* Church of Scotland^ vol. ii., p. 438. 


long, monotonous road from Lauder to conduct divine 
services at Channelkirl<, the bodily wants of the people seem 
to have been as clamant as the spiritual. A great dearth, 
for example, fell over Scotland in 1 596, similar to the one in 
1563,* and many perished for want. 

" For if God," says a contemporary,! " hald nocht extra- 
ordinarlie prouydit for Scotland victualles (coming in sic 
store and aboundance out of all uther countries, as never was 
sein in this land before, sa that, be the aestimatioun of the 
customers and men of best judgment, for euerie mouthe that 
was in Scotland ther cam in at least a boll of victuall), 
thowsandes haid died for hounger : for nochtwithstanding of 
the infinite number of bolls of victuall that cam ham from 
uther partes all the hervesst quarter that yeir the meall gaue 
aught, nyne, and ten pound the boll, and the malt alleavin 
and twoU, and in the southe and wast partes manie died." 

Allan Lundie 

In the same year that Alexander Lauder was " presented " 
to Channelkirk, and eight months after that event, Allan 
Lundie, who was to follow him in that charge, received from 
St Andrews University the degree of Master of Arts. He 
had studied at St Salvator's College there, afterwards in 
1747 joined with St Leonard's, and ten years subsequent to 
being laureated, viz., in 1596, received from King James VI. 
the vicarage of Lesudden, now St Boswells. It was the year 
of the famine noted above, and the cold winds of adversity 
were -blowing as bleakly through the kirk as through the 
cottage. He appears, however, to have taken his lot with 
charming unconcern, and extracted as much pleasure out 
of it as perhaps was possible. He had been barely twelve 
* Knox's Works, ii., p. 369. t Melville's Diary, 1556-1601, p. 243. 


years in his charge when the Presbytery felt compelled to 
call him to account. They charge him, on the 20th September 
1608, "with negligence in his calling, and not ministering the 
communion." He had gone his way with lofty ease, doubt- 
less, and deemed it superfluous either to preach or pray ! 
The Presbytery thought him, moreover, " overstrait in exact- 
ing the vicarage," too worldly-minded,- and wishing to pay 
his way, scornful of the pious maxim that " a puir minister 
is a pure minister." But they also blame him for playing 
"at cairdis," an evil which most ministers, not to speak 
of Presbyteries, wink at nowadays. It was one of the 
reproaches hurled against priests that they kept gamblers 
in their houses, and permitted sports even in the church 
porches and churchyards. Lundie was also too fond of 
"companie," and, worst of all, was "impatient of reproof 
and admonition ! " We, the Presbytery, are galled to see 
such proud indifference to our pious rebukes and exhorta- 
tions ! He was a very scandalous Presbyterian evidently, if 
not a wicked Episcopalian at heart. For two years more pass, 
and Lundie stands once again before the Presbytery. It is 
the 3rd day of April 1610, and we are surprised they 
missed the first day. They advise him to "attend his 
ministrie and increase in diligence, to be earnest for repairing 
his kirk" (the usual groan of Scotch Kirk "ruination") "to 
teach in the afternoon, and to abstain from his carding." 
An easy, indolent, ecclesiastical Tom Jones evidently. But 
all this admonishing " he took verie weel." That is, it went 
in at one ear and out at the other. Perhaps it was the most 
suitable route for it. All official advice, like official charity, 
is somewhat heartless, and creates more demons in a man 
than it casts forth. Under a rational system, a man might 
listen reverentially enough to an individual's private reproof, 


even though he were called bishop, but no one expects advice 
to benefit a delinquent, when it is tantamount to a deputy- 
damn from a chair, with a crowded room listening, open- 
eared, in a certain mood of mind. 

Mr Lundie, in 1610, this year of his reproving, has two 
churches placed at his acceptance. Will he accept Hassen- 
dean or Chinilkirk? He resolutely answers that he prefers 
Hassendean. " Being burdened for his full answer," he refers 
himself to the Presbytery for more advice, and they kindly 
advised him to accept Channelkirk. He seems, however, 
to have been translated first to Hassendean, and then in 
161 1 to Channelkirk, where he stayed till 1614, when he was 
again translated to the parish of Hutton, then called Hutton 
and Fishwick. 

Francis Collage 

Francis Collace comes in his room, having been "pre- 
sented to the vicarage" by James VI, on the loth day of 
December 161 4. He was admitted on the 17th September 
of 161 5. When he received his degree in Edinburgh 
University in the year 1610, Episcopacy was triumphantly 
lifting up its head on high once more. King James VI. and 
I. came to the English throne in 1603, ^.nd with his fixed 
ideas about the divine right of kings, and the divine right 
of churches, had made up his mind that his mind was the 
divine mind, and therefore must rule the people, and especi- 
ally the people of Scotland, not only from the river unto 
the ends of the earth, but also from the cradle to the grave 
in things spiritual and ecclesiastical. By a series of acts he, 
through several years, marched steadily towards that object, 
reasoning with the refractory clergy, spiriting the impossible 
and powerful, such as Andrew Melville, into prison and exile, 


muzzling others, intimidating, violating, and wheedling more 
until, on 24th June 16 10, the Parliament in Edinburgh com- 
plied with his views. An Assembly held in Glasgow the 
same month saw Archbishop Spottiswoode representing the 
Church, and Earl Dunbar the State, and lo ! the king had 
crowned his scheme with glory, for Scotland was Episcopal. 
There was one sour, gnarled, dogged Presbyterian young 
soul who despised these proceedings, and it was that of 
Francis Collace. Nor did three years' residence among the 
Lammermoor hills alter his reflections. We find him in 
Edinburgh in the summer of 161 7 protesting with many 
others to the Scottish Parliament "for the liberties of the 
Kirk." * For it was only in the May preceding that King 
James had proposed " that whatsoever his majesty should 
determine touching the external government of the Church 
. . . .should have the strength of a law." Was not the king's 
mind the divine mind, and therefore had right to rule ? 
Would not he make " that stubborn kirk stoop more to the 
English pattern ? " Was not the bishop to rule the ministers, 
and the king to rule both? Dr Rankin,-|- in summing 
up King James's character, royally declares that he was a 
" royal oddity " ; absent-mindedly misspelling a word, it 
seems, for Macaulay notes it as "drivelling idiot,":!: but a 
man whose notions of royalty equalled his views of divinity had 
no other course to pursue, if he were to be true to himself. 
But Calderwood of Crailing, and his coadjutors and followers, 
were of a different opinion, and would have none of his 
majesty's prelacy. Collace was not alone either in Lauder- 
dale in his protestations. All the ministers in the valley, 
it seems, were united in rebellion. The close of autumn 

* Original Letters relating to Ecclesiastical Affairs, vol. ii., p. 501. 
f Church of Scotland, vol ii., p. 490. % Essays, Lord Bacon. 


i6i8 saw Scotland in great trouble over an attempt to foist 
upon the Church the Five Articles of Perth. Ministers 
openly anathematised them, and King James was as deter- 
mined to depose the ministers if they did not conform. 
Among * the conspicuous instances of that time is the fact of 
the general revolt against these by the Lauderdale ministers, 
for James Deas of Earlston, James Burnet of Lauder, and 
Francis Collace of Channelkirk were in rebellion. They 
were brought up with several others before the Court of 
High Commission, March 2, 1620, as clerical non-conforming 
culprits. Deposition was the wholesale method recom- 
mended by the king for all such, but Archbishop Spottis- 
woode was exceptionally lenient, and dismissed them with a 
lecture and an earnest remonstrance. The Court met in 
the archbishop's house in Edinburgh. His temper was 
tried, it seems, at the sight of so many recalcitrants, and of 
Calderwood especially. Having urged them to conform, 
and having received a collective refusal, he broke out : " I 
will divide you in three ranks. Some of you have been 
ministers before I was bishop : ye look for favour ; but lean 
not too much to it, lest ye be deceived. Some of you I 
have admitted, and ye subscrived to things already con- 
cludit and to be concludit. Some of you, at your transporta- 
tion from one kirk to another have made me the like promise. 
I will continue you all till Easter ; and in the meantime, 
see ye give not the Communion." It is not recorded how 
Collace took this word from the heights, nor how he carried 
himself in Channelkirk afterwards. But the year that saw 
James VI. no more, viz., 1625, also took Collace from Channel- 
kirk to be minister at Gordon. We may add that he was 
married to Marion Muirheid and had a daughter, Agnes. 
* Privy Council^ 1619-22, Introduction, Ixiii. 


Henry Cockburn 

One of the early acts of the new king, Charles I., was to 
present the new minister, Henry Cockburn, to Channelkirk, 
an event which took place on the 4th day of July 1625. He 
received the degree of Master of Arts from St Andrews 
University, 26th July 161 3. From a description he has left 
in a report, " made to His Majesty's Commissioners for 
Plantation of Kirks, etc., 12th April 1627," we get a very 
vivid view of the parish and church, and the miserable 
circumstances into which the minister was allowed to sink 
by the heritors of that time. The document is so graphic 
and telling that we insert it entire. It is printed in " Reports 
on the State of Certain Parishes in Scotland." 

" For the Churche of Chingilkirk quhilk holdis of Drybrughe, 

1. The stipend is fyve hundreth merk,* to be payit be the Right 
Hon. Johne, Earle of Marr, to Lord Drybrughe, etc. 

2. Alexander Cranstoune of Morestoune is proprietar of the juste half 
of the teindis of the whole parochine, excepting butter, cheise, hay, etc., 
callet the small viccarage, for the quhilk the parochiners payes twa 
hundreth merkis to my Lord Drybrughe. 

3. Thair hes nott beine as yett a manse for a minister by reasone of 
the none residence of my predecessors, so that I am very ewill usit. 

4. As for my glebe, it is little worth, for my predecessors sett it for 
ten lib.f be yeir. 

5. I have no sowmes grasse, mosse, nor muir to cast elding (fuel) and 
diffott into, to my great hurt and skaith, notwithstanding thair is muche 
Kirkland in my parochine as Over Howden, Nether Howden, twa 
husband landis in Huxtoune, and my Lady Ormeistounes Kirklandis 
beside the kirk, and the Hillhouse quhilk perteines to the Laird of 

6. The wholle teindis of Chingilkirk parishe ar worthe fyve-and- 
twenty hundreth merk| comnnuiibus annis. 

* £27, 15s. 6^d. sterling. f i6s. 8d. sterling- 

I Taking the merk equal to 13s. 4d. {Coinage of Scotland, by Cochran- 
Patrick), this sum was equal to ^1666, 13s. 4d. Scots = ;!^ 138, 17s. 9i%d. 


7. It is shame to sie the queir (choir) so long without ane roofe, neither 
can the parochiners get halfe rovvme in the kirk. 

8, It wald be very fitt to joyne Quhelplay (Whelplaw), and all on this 
syde of Adinstone Water to Chingilkirk, because they ar but twa mylles 
from it, quhairas they ar fyvc mylles from Lawther if they cannot 
commodiously have ane kirk of their awin. 

Lastly, I shalbe ready upon adverteisment to attend upon my Lordis 
Commissioneris for their mor particular informatioun in every thing that 
concemis my churche so far as I knaw. 

Mr Henry Cockburne, 
Minister of Chingilkirke." 

The " mor particular informatioun " had evidently been 
requested by " my Lordis Commissioneris," for we find that 
a fuller account is given below the above report, and in all 
likelihood belongs to a later date. It is as follows : — 

" Anent Chingilkirk quhilk is nott ane laik patronage but ane of the 
kirkis off the Abacie of Dryburghe, 

1. Thair ar above fowr hundreth communicantis in the parishe. 

2. The remotest rowme in the parishe is two mylles distant from the 
kirk and some of Lawther parishe ar neirer quha ar my daylie auditouris, 
being fyve myllis from their awin parishe kirk, viz., Whelplay, and all 
above Whelplay Water. 

3. The quir is without ane roofe, to the great scandall off the gospell 
and prejudice of the parishiners that cannot get rowme in the kirk, the 
quir being doune. 

4. The stipend is fyve hundreth merkis, to be payit be the Right 
Honble. Johne, Earle of Marre, without any manse, the glebe worth ten 
merkis yeirlie, for sowmes grasse I have nane, nor any uther casuality 
quhatsoever, so that I cannot hold house in such ane barren pairt of the 
countrie, being eight myllis from ane merkat, and having ten personis 
every day to susteine, quhairas I wald be harberous as the apostle 
commandis, Timoth. 3 cap., 2 verse. 

As for the worth and rent of every rowme of the parishe in stok and 

1. Bowrhouses may pay in rent being plenishit 300 merkis personage 
ane 100 merkis viccarage xl lib. 

2. Coklaw in stok 500 merkes personage ane 100 merkis viccarage 
fowrscoir merkis. 



3. Over Hawdan holding of the Abacie of Kelso is in stok 600 
merkis personage ane 100 lib. viccarage ane 100 merkis. 

4. Airhouse is in stok eightscoir merkis personage 20 lib. viccarage 
20 lib. 

5. Thriebumefuird is in stok 8 scoir lib. personage 20 lib. viccarage 
20 lib. 

6. Neather Hairtsyde is in stok 600 merkis personage fowrscoir 
merkis viccarage 100 merkis. 

7. Glints is in stok 500 merkis personage 20 lib. viccarage ane 
100 merkis. 

8. Over Hairtsyde in stok 300 merkis personage 20 merkes viccarage 
xl merkis. 

9. Greingelt is in stok 1000 merkis personage 6 scoir lib. viccarage 
ane 100 merkis. 

10. Haitshaw and the Haughe in stok 400 merkis personage ane 
100 merkis viccarage xl lib. 

11. Midle is in stok ane 100 merkis personage 20 merkis viccarage 
20 lib. 

12. Fairnielies in stok 200 merkis personage 20 lib. viccarage xl 

13. Kelfap in stok 300 merkis personage 20 lib. viccarage xl lib. 

14. Frierneise holding of Ecles in stok fowrscoir lib. personage 6 lib. 
viccarage ten merkis. 

15. Hisildene in stok 200 merkis personage 20 merkis viccarage 
40 merks. 

16. Hairniecleughe in sick fowrscoir lib. personage 10 lib. viccarage 
20 merkis. 

17. Hillhouse ane chaplanrie of Hermeistoune in stok 400 merkis 
personage 50 merkis viccarage 50 merkis. 

18. Carfrea Maines may pay in stok 500 merkis personage ane 100 
lib. viccarage fowrscoir lib. 

19. Carfrea Milne in stok 300 merkis personage xl merkis viccarage 
20 merkis. 

20. Neather Hawdan holding of the Abacie of Kelso in stok 600 
merkis personage ane 100 lib. viccarage 20 lib. 

21. Waisill Milne in stok ane 100 merkis personage 10 merkis 
viccarage 4 lib. 

22. Huxstoune 13 landis with two landis of Kirkland in stok 900 
merkis personage ane 100 lib. viccarage xl lib. 

23. My Lord Cranstoune's 2 landis in Huxstoune in stok 4 scoir lib. 
personage 50 merkis (viccarage) 10 merkis. 

24. Kirktounhill 200 merkis in stok personage fowrscoir merkis 
viccarage 50 merkis. This is fewd land holding of Drybrughe. 


25. The Kirkland of Kirkhaugh may pay xl lib. in stock and teind. 

It is not fewd land, but being viccar's land of old, and now withholden 
from ministery at that kirk, hinders thair satling, and maid all my pre- 
decessouris non residentis, neither can I get grasse to two kye, to my 
great greiffe and skaith quhilk I hope shall now be gratiouslie amendit to 
the perpetuall satling of a ministery at that kirk. 

If it shall please the Lord to withhold His judgments from the land, 
so that thir forenamitt rowmes be weill plenishit, they may yeild the 
forsaid stok and teind, and quhen the ground is punishit the heritour and 
teinder must nott be frie. 

Thus have I {bona fide) usit all diligence to informe myself anent the 
premisses, neither might I opinlie tak the help of my parishiners, because 
being maillmen and in wsse to pay for the teindis they wald have sett all 
things at naught, quhilk I could not suffer, and thairfor hes taken the 
wholle burtheine on myself, and yit hes neither prejudgit maister nor 

In the meane tyme, but (only) keiping ane puire conscience hes in- 
deverrit to give all possible satisfactioune to all pairties that hes any 
interest in this bussines and that indifferently without any partiall deilling. 

Mr Henry Cokburne, 
Minister of the Evangell off our Lord aft Chtngilkirke. 

This is the just Informatioun delyverit to me from the minister of 
Chinghillkirk. M. JA. Daes, Moderator." 

The reason for the above report or reports is, that in 
1627 Charles I. appointed Commissioners of Surrenders and 
Teinds, with a view, among other things, to provide churches 
with ministers, and ministers with competent stipends. 
Help was sought from the ministers themselves in giving 
just information with reference to their several parishes and 
particular teinds. There seems to have been what was called 
a sub-commission, dealing with the same business, but princi- 
pally, although not always, composed of the ministers, and to 
all intents and purposes, the presbytery. The second report 
given in by Cockburn appears to have been laid before this 
sub-commission, and this accounts for the signature of 
"James Daes, Moderator," who was minister of Earlston. 


This ministerial or Presbyterial valuation of the teinds does 
not seem to have been accepted as sufficiently authoritative.* 
The sub-commission for this district sat at Lauder, 7th 
January 163 1, and was "holden within the Tolbuth" there. 
There is extant " a copy of valuation of the lands of Glen- 
gelt " laid before this meeting, when Thomas Markell in 
Headshaw, and James Richardson in Kirktonhill give their 
testimony on oath, that these lands, with pertinents in 
constant rent, communibus annibus, " may pay, and will be 
worth" 500 merks (;^27, 15s. 6y\d. sterling). 

What a lamentable state of ecclesiastical affairs these 
reports reveal ! No manse ; the church half in ruins ; hardly 
any glebe, though the church of Channelkirk had abounded 
in possession of acres ; not even a bit of the wide wild moor 
of Soutra to cast peats in, or lift a divot out of, and the 
stipend £2^, 15s, 61^2^-, on which to support ten people. No 
wonder that the minister could not entertain any one. No 
wonder that all the previous ministers had found it im- 
possible to reside there. The surprise is, indeed, that the 
church survived at all. " The heritor and teinder " had not 
only taken the hide, but cleaned the bones also, and left " the 
church of St Cuthbert at Channelkirk " the gift of wintry 
winds, clean teeth, the cry of the peesweep, and the prospect 
of death by starvation. But valiant Cockburn seems to have 
swallowed his tears and his " ewill usit " as deep down as he 
was capable, and bent his back to bear the burden which he 
found impossible to lighten. Not for the first time, doubtless, 
and certainly not for the last, did he find that while he re- 
mained in Channelkirk he must nourish his righteous soul on 
very thin soup. Scotland's clergy, like their Master, having 
often resorted to their gardens, Have not found there the 
• * Decreet of Locality^ '^. 2^2. 


spices and the pomegranates, but much prayerful agony, and 
a prowling pack of traitors and thieves. 

Perhaps, if Cockburn had been placed in any other parish 
in Scotland, his " report " would not have differed in essentials 
from the one he sent from this place. The spirit of revenge 
and avarice swept the land, and what should have fallen on 
the heads of the priests, bruised the hearts of their Protestant 
successors. The Scottish nobles can never wash the smutch 
of this period out of their pedigree. Unpatriotic, unchristian, 
inhuman. We all know the reason ; but Knox's account of 
the case is enough. The First Book of Discipline had been 
drawn up, and " presented to the nobilitie,* who did peruse it 
many dayis. Some approved it, and willed the samyn have 
bene sett furth be a law. Otheris, perceaving thair carnall 
libertie and worldlie commoditie somewhat to be impaired 
thairby, grudged, insomuche that the name of the Book of 
Discipline became odious unto thame. Everie thing that 
repugned to thair corrupt affectionis was termed in thair 
mockage ' devote imaginationis.' The caus we have befoir 
declaired : some war licentious ; some had greadilie gripped 
to the possessionis of the kirk ; and otheris thought that thei 
wald nott lack thair parte of Christis coat ; yea, and that 
befoir that ever he was hanged, as by the preachearis thei war 
oft rebuked." The Roman soldiers parted the coat after He 
was dead ; the Roman Catholic priests did not seek the 
uppermost claith till breath was out of the body, but here is 
the poor reforming Scotch minister plundered of his bodily 
comforts, while he is very much alive ! Thus also Knox 
transfixes one of the fleecers in whom Channelkirk should 
have an interest. " The cheaf great man that had professed 
Christ Jesus, and refuissed to subscrive the Book of Discipline, 
* Knox's Works^\o\. ii., p. 128. 


was the Lord Erskine ; and no wonder, for besydis that he 
has a verray Jesabell to his wyfife, yf the poore, the schooles, 
and the ministerie of the kirk had thair awin, his keching 
(kitchen) wald lack two parttis and more, of that whiche he 
injustlie now possesses. Assuredlye some of us have 
woundered how men that professe godlynes could of so long 
continewance hear the threatnyngis of God against theavis 
and against thair housses, and knowing thame selfis guyltie 
in suche thingis, as war openlie rebucked, and that thei never 
had remorse of conscience, neather yitt intended to restore 
any thingis of that, whiche long thei had stollen and reft. 
Thair was none within the realme more unmercyfull to the 
poore ministeris then war thei whiche had greatest rentis of 
the churches." 

This is Knox's indictment against the Scottish nobles. 
The particular name which he singles out, viz., Lord Erskine, 
has a special interest for us, as it was into his hands, as Earl 
Mar, that the Abbey of Dryburgh fell, and, consequently, the 
Channelkirk lands belonging to its church. He had "pro- 
fessed" Christ Jesus, but the Book of Discipline was his 
aversion ; nevertheless, his kitchen was stuffed with the 
inheritance of " the poore, the schooles, and the ministerie." 

Dryburgh, with other religious houses, was annexed to 
the Crown after the Reformation. A liferent was, however, 
reserved for David Erskine, the commendator. " The king,* 
on the resignation or death of any abbot or prior, appointed 
lay ' commendators ' for life to the vacant benefice," and 
David was closely involved in the stormy events of his time. 
He became one of the young Earl of Mar's assistants in the 
governorship of James VI. during his minority, and he was 
more or less implicated in Mar's subsequent escapades. He 
* Church of Scotland, vol. iv., p. 51. 


lost his position as commendator in Dryburgh when the 
Erskine estates were confiscated in 1584, but when they 
were restored in 1585, David Erskine again resumed his old 
post and privileges. In 1604, the first year after the king 
ascended the throne of Great Britain, he included Dryburgh 
Abbacy in the Temporal Lordship and Barony of Cardross 
in favour of John, Earl of Mar, reserving, however, to David, 
the commendator, the rents, profits, and emoluments of the 
lands and others. He enjoyed the benefice from first to last 
through nearly fifty years, the abbacy being found vacant on 
31st May 1608, and in his majesty's hands as patron. David 
had demitted office that it might be provided to his kinsman, 
Henry Erskine, a legitimate second son of the Earl of Mar. 
This Henry Erskine dies evidently in 1637, a few years after 
the reports are sent in by Rev. Henry Cokburne, for we find 
the following: "March 17, 1637. David Erskine, heir male 
of Henry Erskine de Cardross (patris), in the lands and 
barony and others, underwritten, which formerly pertained to 
the Abbey of Dryburgh, viz., Dryburgh Abbey, etc. etc. . . . 
Kirkland of Lauder, lands of Over and Nether Shielfield, 
lands of Ugstoun, Kirklands of Chingilkirk," etc., etc.* 

It was, therefore, through the influence of John, Lord 
Erskine, whose hypocrisy and avarice, and " verray Jesabell 
his wyffe," Knox lamented so much, that Channelkirk Kirk 
lands were " stoUen and reft " from the ancient patrimony of 
that church, by means of the youthful " royal oddity " and 
the connivance of his kinsman, David Erskine, the " com- 
mendator." The fault of the ruined church, the absence of a 
manse, the miserable competence on which Cockburn had to 
serve the cure and feed ten people daily, lay directly at the 
door of this Henry Erskine, the Earl of Mar's second son. 

• Re/ours. 


Four hundred communicants were weekly (" daylie ") gather- 
ing in a church with half its roof off, on the storm-swept 
steeps of Soutra Hill, and the minister stewing with his "ten 
persons " in a " but and ben," for want of a manse ; while the 
illustrious descendant of " a verray Jesabell," " a sweatt 
morsale for the devillis mouth," wallowed in the unprincipled 
gains of sacrilege. 

The conspicuous ability of Henry Cockburn is more than 
hinted at in the following recommendation which we quote 
from the Proceedings of Commission of the General Assembly, 
1647. "The Commission recommends Mr Henry Cokburne 
to the Lord Advocat to assist him before the Commissioners 
for planting of kirks." He was a member of the Assembly 
in Glasgow, 21st November 1638, and doubtless he was 
present at that great historical scene earlier in the same 
year, on 1st March, when in Greyfriars Church, Edinburgh, 
the Scottish nation, in its representatives, swore with uplifted 
hands, and subscribed to the National Covenant. He was 
essentially a man of strong individuality and pronounced 
convictions, and unflinchingly asserted his principles in open 
defiance of all consequences. Such men are usually broken 
when they have no capacity for bowing down, and the 
General Assembly, which met in July 1648, found it necessary 
in his case to adopt this process. He was suspended on 
that occasion, and referred by that court to the next Assembly 
in July 1649, and finally deposed from his charge at Channel- 
kirk in 1650. His offence was the monstrous one of praying 
in public for the Army in England under the Duke of 
Hamilton. As the duke's army was in England in 1648, 
Cockburn's process of deposition had taken two years to 
accomplish. No better proof could be given of the mad, 
fanatical, and furious spirit which then smote the four corners 


of the Scottish Zion. " Scotland is in a hopeful way," says 
Carlyle, writing of this time in his cynical vein," * " The 
extreme party of Malignants in the North is not yet quite 
extinct ; and here is another extreme party of Remonstrants 
in the West — to whom all the conscientious rash men of 
Scotland, in Kirkcaldy and elsewhere, seem as if they would 
join themselves ! Nothing but remonstrating, protesting, 
treaty ing, and mistreatying from sea to sea." War was 
added to this state of matters, for Cromwell and his soldiers 
were busy. Scotland was in the dangerous predicament of 
the Church ruling the State, and when the Covenanters 
claimed the same powers which the Pope now claims in 
vain from us. The ecclesiastical world was broken up mainly 
into two parties of Engagers and Remonstrants, later 
Resolutioners and Protesters, and it appears Henry Cock- 
burn must have been an Engager, for it was one of the 
tenets of the Protesters that they dared not pray for the 
success of the Scottish army in England, not having any 
warrant from God, as they said, to do so. The valley of 
the Leader, to all appearance, held by the royal cause, as the 
Duke of Lauderdale himself was taken prisoner and lodged 
in the Tower of London for fighting to attain the same 
purpose for which Cockburn, somewhat earlier, prayed, and 
was deposed. But the Protesters ultimately came to be 
the dominant party in Scotland, and, as a consequence, 
intolerably treated the party opposed to them. They de- 
prived them of their livings, and Cockburn lost Channelkirk. 
He might also have lost his life in the passionate wrangle, 
for the two parties visited upon each other the heaviest 
censures, but Cromwell's army kept the peace, and suppressed 
any attempts at martyr-making. It is before the month 
* CromivelPs Life and Letters, vol. iii., p, 85. 


of May of 1650, that he begins his term of "great miserie," 
for his successor, David Liddell, is admitted and ordained 
on the 30th May of that year. Just thirteen days before 
this latter event we find the following statement in Assembly 
Reports : " The Commission of Assembly,* their advyce being 
desired by two of the brethren of the Presbyterie of Ersil- 
toune, in name of the whole Presbyterie, in the particular 
concerning Mr Harie Cockburn, which was fully represented 
by the said brethren, the Act of Synod and Presbyterie 
thereanent being produced, did think fitt to give the advyce 
following, to witt : That according to the transaction betwixt 
the said Mr Harie and the Commissioners of the said 
Presbyterie to the last General Assembly, and according to 
the Recommendation of the said General Assembly for that 
effect, and according to the Act of the Presbyterie following 
upon both, that thrie hundreth merks should be payed yeirly 
by the next intrant, out of the stipend of Ginglekirk, to the 
said Mr Harie Cockburne, as long as he lives, and the 
Commission advyses to take securitie of the intrant for that 
effect before his admission." 

It is clear that by this date he is out of Channelkirk. 
But negotiations had been set afoot to provide a competence 
for him. His brethren of the Presbytery of Earlston had 
taken counsel together, and through their Commissioners 
to the Assembly had laid his case on the Assembly table 
for consideration and advice. An " Act of Presbytery " had 
been formulated, and then the Commission of Assembly 
"advyses" in its cautious way that 300 merks (^16, 13s. 4d. 
sterling) be given him out of Channelkirk stipend, and that 
the new ministers should be taken bound for that purpose. 
As Cockburn tells us himself that he " suffered great miserie " 
* Commission of General Assembly^ 17th May 1650. 


during the period of his deposition, it is not likely that this 
300-merk " advyse " had the slightest effect upon his fortunes. 
He was turned adrift to sink or swim, illustrating once 
more the tender mercies of the ecclesiastical divinity which 
has always presided over the creation and regulation of 
Christians in Scotland. He had ten persons to provide for, 
too ! Such, however, were the awful penalties of prayer. 
One speculates here as to how the knowledge of it reached 
the Assembly from such a remote and incommunicable 
parish. There must have been pious and zealous sneaks 
in Channelkirk Church at that time, who did God service 
in this way. 

Cockburn lived, nevertheless, to see a new day arise with 
less sorrow in it for him. After nine years had passed " he 
had his mouth opened." He was restored to the ministry, 
but not yet to Channelkirk. Still, he was allowed to address 
his perishing fellow-creatures on the solemn concerns of 
eternity. A great privilege, surely ; and, meanwhile, James 
Deas, minister of Earlston, having been suspended from 
his charge, Cockburn becomes locum tenens there for fifteen 
months, beginning apparently about the close of 1659, the 
year of his restoration to the ministry. Mr James Deas, 
however, believed that although he did not preach to Earlston 
people he should keep the purse-strings of Earlston stipend. 
He refused to give Cockburn any stipend, notwithstanding 
that the Synod had ordained a part to be paid to him, and 
the difficulty becoming a deadlock, the case went to law. 
Consequently here is this " Report by the Lords Commis- 
sioners of Bills anent Mr James Dais, Minister at Ersle- 

"There being ane persuitt depending before us at the instance of Mr 
Henry Cockburn, sometime minister at Ginglekirk, against Mr James 


Dais, minister at Ersletoune, whereby the persewer craved thrie chader 
and ana half of victuall halfe oats and thrid pairt beer and sixscore of 
pounds Scotts money payable furth of the teinds of Mellerstanes and 
Ffaunes be the lairds of Gradone, Torsonce, and Grinknow, which is ane 
part of the said defendis his stipend and ordained be Act of Synod to be 
payed to the persewer for his service in preaching at the said Kirk of 
Ersletoune be the space of fifteen months, during which tyme the said 
defender was suspended. 

" In the which persewit baith parties compearing, and they being both 
hard, wee have of consent of both parties condescended that the said 
Mr James Daes, defender, should have right to the same stipend in swa 
far as is not already uplifted be him, and that the said Mr Henry Cock- 
burn, persewer, should have the sowme of four hundredth merkis out of 
the first and readiest of the samyne stipend. And in regard severall of 
the gentlemen wha are lyable in payment of the said stipend also com- 
peared and declared they were willing to pay to any of the said parties 
who should be found to have best right. 

" It is therefor our humble opinion that your G. & Lo. interpose your 
decreet and authority to the condescendence above written." 
"22 March "[1661]. 

On 2nd July following, we have it that " Parliament passed 
Acts in favour of Mr John Veitch and Mr Henry Cockburne." 
Mr John Veitch was the well-known minister of Westruther, 
and Cockburn would thus return to Channelkirk with his 
400 merks in his pocket (nearly ;^"2i), and to the church of 
his first love. This " Act in his favour " was evidently one 
removing all obstacles out of the way of his return to 
Channelkirk Church once more, and may be regarded as 
part of the arrangement by which Rev. David Liddell, the 
officiating minister there since Cockburn's deposition, received 
from Parliament ;^ioo sterling. For the " Act " for Cockburn 
is dated 2nd July, and that for Liddell, 4th July, both 1661. 
In 1662, David Liddell was called from Channelkirk, and 
Henry Cockburn once more stood in his old pulpit there. 
Twelve years of bitter experiences on account of patriotically 
and piously praying for success to his soldier countrymen 


fighting in England ! The religion of Scotland has been 
truly hammered out on hard anvils. 

The last entry in the oldest record we possess, in the 
handwriting of David Liddell, is dated 25th September 
1662. Part of it runs: "Five pounds of this sum delivered 
to James Somerville to be given to Mr Harry Cockburne for 
that part of the bursar money due to him by an Act of the 
Presbytery of Erslingtoune for the year of God 1662." The 
" bursar " was the divinity student who was maintained at 
college by Presbytery help. The General Assembly in 1641 
enacted that Presbyteries maintain a bursar of divinity. If 
twelve presbyters in number, they were to maintain him 
alone, but if fewer than twelve, two presbyteries were to 
combine. In 1645, it was provided that every bursar of 
theology have yearly ;^ioo Scots. And it seems that 
Earlston Presbytery had by their act diverted part of this 
bursary of ^100 to Cockburn in respect of certain con- 

It sometimes happens that a brave ship which has 
battled victoriously through stormy seas will go down to a 
watery tomb in calm weather, within sight of shore, and of 
those who have gathered on the harbourhead to welcome 
her home. Henry Cockburn returned to Channelkirk in 
full ministerial status and honour, only to lay down his work 
where he first took it up, and render up his life to his Master. 
It must have been late in the year of 1662 when he came 
back, yet in November 1663 another minister is ordained in 
his place. Let us trust that though his day had been full of 
storm and darkness, and, as he puts it, of "great miserie," 
there was light and calm for him at eventide. From the few 
scraps of his life and work which we have been able to glean, 
we are constantly impressed with the pious earnestness and 


manliness of the one, and the sustained and respected worth 
of the other. His struggle against poverty was life-long, 
but his spirit was never daunted, and he spoke his mind 
before both God and man, freely and courageously, in days 
when harassment and death stood at the foot of the pulpit 
stairs to throttle the minister who ventured to use such a 
freedom. His ability was known and claimed far beyond the 
locality of the parish he served, and he seems to have been 
esteemed and respected as much in the higher courts of the 
Church as among his brethren of the Presbytery. He stood 
loyal to the throne and to the sober-minded party in the 
Church, at a time when conspiracy against authority and 
blind fanaticism in religion raged wildly throughout the 
three kingdoms. This augurs strongly for his sterling 
common sense and sound healthy piety. His fervour did 
not, like that of too many of his contemporaries, rush into 
ferocity, nor does he appear to have left the safe path of 
moderation and wise judgment to reach reforms by the 
methods of passionate bigotry. 

It only remains to add that his wife was named Isobell 
Hutoun, and that he had a son called Harrie. The name of 
Cockburn is territorially connected with Channelkirk about 
thirty years after our minister's time, for William Cockburn, 
son of Henry Cockburn, Provost of Haddington, becomes 
interested in Glengelt and Over Howden in the year 1695. 
But whether or not these Haddington Cockburns were 
related to the minister of Channelkirk, it seems beyond us 
now to ascertain. 



After the Reformation 

Professor David Liddell — Cromwell's Soldiers at Channelkirk — At 
Lauder and Bemersyde — First Glimpse of Channelkirk People — The 
Kirk Records— Divine Right of Kings, Prelacy, and Presbyterianism 
— Terror and Desolation — Divot Renovation of Kirks — Collections 
and Old Customs— The Lord's Supper— Liddell's " Laus Deo " and 
Promotion — Walter Keith — Earlston Presbytery and Prelatic 
Presbyterianism— Kirkton on Keith— William Arrot— Received 
into Presbyterian Communion from Prelacy — His High Character — 
Called to Montrose. 

David Liddell — 1650- 1662 

If Henry Cockburn has a strong claim to be considered 
our martyr, his successor, David Liddell, has an undoubted 
title to be called our scholar. The proof is found in the 
professional eminence to which he afterwards attained in 
Glasgow University. 

After careful inquiry we regret that we are unable to 
indicate either his parentage or his birthplace. Aberdeen 
authorities suggest that he was most probably related to the 
family of Liddells who were benefactors of and professors in 
Marischal College in the seventeenth century. In all likeli- 
hood he was born in Aberdeen, and as a boy would receive 
his education there. In the list of students entered in the 


year 1634, under "preceptor Robert Ogilvie," the name of 
David Liddell occurs in the tenth place.* In the year 1638, 
the year of " sturm und drang " in the Church of Scotland, he 
obtained there, on the 31st July, the degree of Master of 
Arts. He is set down ninth on the list of graduates.f 

His first appearance at Channelkirk is in the memorable 
year of 1650, the year which saw, among many other notable 
events, the Psalms first put into metrical form by Francis 
Rous, and the Marquis of Montrose executed in Edinburgh. 
Dr Hew Scott, in his well-known Fasti, asserts that Liddell 
came to Channelkirk in 1654. This is a mistake, and one 
that proves that Scott cannot have consulted our Kirk 
Records for his statement, Liddell has himself written it 
down as 1650. It is the first historical sentence inserted 
there. "Collections and penalties (gathered) (and) taken up 
by William Wight, elder and deacon of the session of 
Chinghilkirk, and depursements efter the admission and 
ordination of Mr David Liddell, the 30th day of May 
1650." \ 

The year and time call for some attention on our part. 
It was the year of war and rumours of war. Cromwell and 
his soldiers were then the terror of Berwickshire and the 
south of Scotland. The fountains of the great national deeps 
hs,d broken up, and over the three kingdoms the masses of 
the people, the throne, the nobles, and the professions were 

* Records of the University and King's College, p. 462. t Ibid., p. 511. 

I The Kirk Records of Channelkirk begin with the year 1650, and 
those of Earlston Presbytery, in which Channelkirk is included, with the 
year 1691. In order to preserve their historical connection, and give 
more vitality to the narrative, it is proposed, instead of giving detached 
selections, to incorporate what of them appears necessary and ap- 
propriate in the several notices of the persons and times associated and 
contemporaneous with them. It is hoped the unity of interest may, on 
this account, be better maintained. 


a wide sea of religious, civil, political, and social commotion. 
Carlyle has expressed his conviction that Cromwell was the 
only true ark of safety floating on these troubled waters. 
It may be so, and it may be also that there have been rats in 
every ark, not excepting Noah's, and the Cromwellian one was 
certainly not innocent of them. Here is evidence. Among 
the first things of parochial moment which the Rev. David 
Liddell has to note in the Kirk Record is the following : — 

"The rest of the poor's money in the box and in the 
keeping of Robert Wight and Adam Somervell, the one 
keeping the box, the other the key, by appointment of the 
Session, was taken away by force be the English souldiers as 
they declared befor the Sessione." 

Rats and ravagement indeed are here, and not dis- 
daining either to nibble away the crust of the poor. Later, 
when they got the length of Dunfermline, we have a similar 
story, for on the 12th of August 165 1, the session records 
there tell how the English soldiers broke the " kirk boxe " 
and " plunderit " it. 

After the Army of the Engagement of 1648 had been 
scattered by Cromwell, almost every county in Scotland was 
put under military surveillance and cessment. In Lauder- 
dale the evidences of this seem to have been too manifest. 
The Lord of Thirlestane had left his castle by the banks of 
the Leader to fight Cromwell in England, only to be taken 
prisoner and sent to the Tower after the battle of Worcester, 
3rd September 165 1. The English soldiers had taken up 
their quarters in his palatial residence, about July 1649, and 
kept the country for miles around in chronic panic. The 
raid upon the poor's box at Channelkirk, six miles from the 
base of their roystering escapades, points to depredations 
throughout the whole of Upper Lauderdale, of which no 



chronicle is now left to us. If these were unattended by blood- 
shed and loss of life, it is more than can be said for their 
plunderings in other parts of the district, notably at Bemer- 
syde, where murder was foully done, though, in justice be it 
said, as promptly avenged at Lauder by those of Cromwell's 
own army, who directed their judgments by the lofty if stern 
ideals of their master.* 

How David Liddell carried himself in presence of these 
zealot invaders, and how he and his peasant congregation 
viewed the sacrilegious spoliation of the Sunday offerings 
must be matter of conjecture only. He obtrudes his own 
personality and conduct only in the leanest scraps of the 
Kirk Record which he has left us. There is a hand merely, 
and a presence moving among the transactions tabulated, but 
he himself is as spectral as if he were already disembodied. 
It is a matter of gratification, however, to find ourselves 
actually in the area of interest and action of the Channelkirk 
people. Hitherto our humble history has been, for most 
part, a concern of names and land, proprietors and acres, 
and the necessary correlatives of these which flood the 
charters of the religious houses. The people themselves are 
never seen and never heard. We know that they must be 
there, toiling and suffering, endeavouring and enduring as 
best they may, but for the purposes of history, their lot as 
connected with the Church or local existence is sadly re- 
flected in the words : — 

" They have no share in all that's done 
Beneath the circuit of the sun." 

It is the privilege of David Liddell, through his record, 
to introduce us to the inhabitants of Channelkirk parish. 

* Memorials of the Haliburtons^ P- 4i- 


But blurred and torn church records, helpful as they are, 
can never be more than a kind of broken mirror of days and 
generations long gone past. Yet for what they lack in spatial 
outline and detail, they usually make up in depth of character 
and intensity. The names we meet are no longer affixed to 
statues, as it were, but breathe in human shapes, and there 
is soul in all that is said. The legal bars and doors of the 
charters, with their castle-like pomposity, yield here to home 
touches, and the play of thought and feeling. We no longer 
walk upon macadamised paths and streets of asphalt, but 
upon fresh grass, and with nature all around us. The actions 
of the people are visibly reflected in more than shadowy 
outlines. Their likes and dislikes, intentions and preferences, 
are embodied in the men who play the chief parts and carry 
their judgments into execution. The principal solemnities 
of existence, their births, marriages, and deaths, are here 
set out in all their glowing light or livid gloom. Everything 
is sharply cut. The swift glimpse of the trembling hand of 
some weary traveller, not yet called a " tramp," or poverty- 
stricken parishioner, held out to receive the kirk session's 
help, is followed, it may be, with the abrupt rebuke and 
ecclesiastical castigation of some fornicating or Sabbath - 
breaking wight. Broad glades of humour also open up 
now and then through the prosaic jungle of " collections and 
depursements," and routine " sederunts " of session. A dark 
fringe of sickness and sorrow is always, of course, found 
flowing from the web woven on " the roaring Loom of Time " ; 
brief chronicles, like sudden shrieks, declaring to us the 
strenuous struggle of life and death which is going on behind 
them. Little sputters of dislike and grudging also break 
out at intervals, and expressions of bile which cannot venture 
beyond hints and mangled words. Passing events of local 


significance are often exact silhouettes of the more massive 
and national ones contemporaneously being developed ; just 
as one might, by aid of lenses, throw down on a small table 
the aspect of a distant street or city. The widest interests 
are frequently commingled, — a bridge over the nearest burn 
dividing the " collections " with one over the Dee, the aid 
given to teaching " poor scholars " of the neighbourhood 
being drawn from the same pockets that assist a church in 
Konigsberg or North America, or help the Bible to declare 
itself in Gaelic. Struggles at the elections of ministers and 
elders are, of course, frequent, and not always of a heroic 
character. The ecclesiastical cockpit never wants combatants. 
But the Day of Communion is the event which perhaps is 
most heavily underscored in importance. Ministers, elders, 
teachers, precentors, beadles, joiners, tents, ropes, and collec- 
tions, bulk high in their several places, and attain annually 
an increased greatness and profusion of record. It is the 
religious tidal wave which yearly elevates every common and 
ecclesiastical function of the church and parish, and which, 
having passed, permits all to sink down to common levels of 
routine once more. Conspicuous over all, watchful, fierce, and 
despotic, towers the kirk session. None escapes its vigilance, 
as few are able to elude its ban. Peer or peasant, farmer 
or hind, rich or poor, all must bow to its dictates and listen 
to its commands. It is an almonry, it is true, for the needy, 
but it is also an arsenal for the refractory. And it is not only 
in the Church where its power is felt. Not a pailful of water 
can be carried home from the well, but cognisance is taken 
whether it be done on Sabbath or Saturday. So with carry- 
ing food, or yoking a cart. Not a fiddle may twangle at 
marriage or merrymaking beyond the hours and bounds fixed 
by this small body. Fathers of families are roundly told 


in what ways they should bear themselves at home or afield. 
The weakest and most weather-winnowed creature in the 
parish, it may be, when once seated in the chair of the elder, 
does not hesitate to fulminate his judgments with a " Thus 
saith the Lord." 

These are features of Scottish life, which, of course, were 
perfectly general over the country. The minister lived and 
moved and had his being in an atmosphere as terrible as 
that which enveloped Horeb. None disputed his authority ; 
all except the most profane and hardened meekly yielded 
place to him. " The minister of God's Evangel " he called 
himself, but he approached nearer to a personification of law, 
and he would shake the sleeve of the king as fearlessly as 
he would the rheum-crusted fustian of the peasant. There 
was a reason for all this. His power lay in his conviction 
that he walked with God, or rather, as in some cases, that 
God walked with him, and that all the "degrees of God's 
wrath " were at his disposal whensoever he should be moved 
by the spirit, to draw upon them either to advance the cause 
of righteousness or to crush a blasphemous enemy. The 
parish was practically his regality, short of the power of life 
and death, and no king or kinglet ever swayed a sceptre so 
supremely over his subjects as did the Scotch minister over 
the people "within the bounds." He did not hesitate to 
set aside laws and injunctions coming " from above," if they 
were unsuitable to his " views," or ran counter to those passed 
within his own sessional parliament. He had God's word 
to back him : all else he defied. And the conviction of the 
minister was the belief of the people. With few exceptions 
the parish upheld him in his decisions. Docilely they 
followed him, as sheep, whithersoever he, as shepherd, might 
lead them. And if there had been no opposing belief to his 


in the Scotland of 1650, when our records open, parish life 
and parish character would have developed and flourished 
after their genus, and have passed away peacefully according 
to the course of nature. 

The centre of this ecclesiastical system, the General 
Assembly, never had, perhaps, respect adequate or power 
sufficient given to it to cope with the various forces nominally 
under its command. And where there is no central authority 
of sufficient dignity in wisdom, piety, learning, or power, 
equal to commanding the respect and obedience of men, 
nothing but anarchy and misrule can prevail. The Reforma- 
tion of 1560 overwhelmed the central ecclesiastical authority 
of the land. But nothing so universally binding was put 
in its place. True, there was a purer spiritual life, and a 
more reasonable faith asserted once more, but the application 
of this to externals was not so calmly and orderly adjusted 
as could have been desired. When Knox died in 1572, and 
Andrew Melville came to the front with his *' Divine right 
of Presbytery," all the elements of Scottish life slowly assumed 
the condition of inflammability, and the combustible and 
explosive stage was merely a question of time. For if there 
exist side by side with this belief in the "divine right of 
presbytery " a not insignificant party whose conviction holds 
all for the " divine right of episcopacy," if royalty, for example, 
should also be convinced of its own " divine right " to uproot 
this system of presbytery from the land, and plant "divine 
right of episcopacy " in its place, is it not clear that combus- 
tions must ensue, and something like Civil War take place ? 
There was at work also the active agency of the spirit of 
revenge. We do not need to say that this was actually the 
state of matters prevailing in Scotland in 1650, and for many 
years previous to it. King James VI. and I. and Charles 


his son after him, would have their episcopacy forced upon 
Scotland ; Scotland as strenuously, respecting herself and 
her liberty, declared for divine right of presbytery, and this 
she would have, and nothing else. And force met force in 
the field, and saint met saint at the Throne of Grace and 
spilt blood, and counterpetitioned and counterlawed each 
other in the name of the Most High through most of the 
seventeenth century. 

For the same principle and conviction is found at the 
root of the mad doings of the " killing time." That cultured 
and civilised men, some of them of high breeding, should 
deliberately and coldly imbrue their hands in the blood of 
a helpless peasantry for the mere pleasure of the thing, 
is what no sane person can now conceive. But when 
men believe that one form of religion is God-designed and 
divinely ordered, and that another system of worship is 
superstitious and contrary to Scripture, they will only 
think that they do God service when they put down the 
one and establish the other, even at the heavy cost of much 

1650 is the year that saw Cromwell cross the Tweed at 
Berwick, march round by the east coast, Dunbar and Mussel- 
burgh, and confront the forces of the Scotch in Edinburgh. 
The year before he had settled the question of the " divine 
right of kings " by executing King Charles I., and his con- 
victions were just as free on the question as to the divine 
right of episcopacy or presbyterianism. The arms to the 
man who can use them, was his belief; the throne to the 
man who can rule ; and the pulpit to the man who can 
preach. It is the natural truth of the matter, and therefore 
carries with it the true right of the divine. But Scottish 
ministers everywhere held this as blasphemy, and defied him. 


They stood by the Covenant and compelled Charles II. to 
come under its obligations before they would permit him to 
reign. He was secondary in their estimation to the Covenant 
which declared for presbyterianism. The most characteristic 
feature of this Covenant was its repudiation of prelacy. Prelacy 
to them was the handmaid of popery, and both were black 
superstition in the eyes of men who believed in the divine 
right of presbyterianism. Round this central principle 
religious fury raged throughout the land. But Cromwell 
principally wished to prevent the Scots from setting up 
Charles II. in the room of his father, who had but lately 
expiated his crimes on the block. And with this in view, 
when Charles II. landed at the mouth of the Spey in June 
of 1650, he hurried from Ireland to London, from London 
by Berwick to Edinburgh, to frustrate their intentions. 
" Cromwell's host caused great excitement. At the ap- 
proaching of this English army, many people here (Edin- 
burgh), in the East parts and South, were overtaken with 
great fears." " 22 July 1650 being ane Monday, the English 
Army, under the Commandment of General Oliver Cromwell, 
crossed the water of Tweed and marched into our Scottish 
Borders to and about Aytoun, whereof present advertisement 
was given to our Committee of State, and thereupon followed 
ane strict proclamation that all betwixt 60 and 16 should 
be in readiness the morn to march both horse and foot." 
"During the lying of thir twa armies in the fields all the 
cornes betwixt and twa or three miles be west Edinburgh on 
both sides were destroyed and eaten up. Meat and drink 
could hardly be had for money, and such as was gotten was 
fuisted and sauled at a double price," * 

This picture of terror and desolation over all the east and 
* NicoU's Diary. 


south finds corroboration in our records in the quotation we 
have given above. Nothing was sacred, not even kirk 
treasuries, to the plundering soldiers. The meagre details 
we have of their visit to Channelkirk are touched with pathos 
as well as sacrilege. The kirk session had met, and on 
settling the year's accounts after September ist, when the 
hostile armies were fronting each other at Dunbar, and two 
days before the defeat of the Scottish host, there was found 
the sum of ;^42, 4s. 4d. Thirty-six shillings had been paid 
"to the Presbytery for James Murray," who was doubtless 
a probationer fighting his way through the university with 
such assistance, and twenty-four shillings more went " to the 
poor smith of Ugston," and the rest fell into the hands of 
the marauders. The precise date of their robbery is not 
given, but there is an inferential hint given us in the blank 
left after July 21st, which was Sunday. Cromwell came 
across the Tweed on the Monday following, viz., the 22nd, 
and there is no service in church on the subsequent Sunday, 
July 28th. "Aug. 4" is the next entry. This might lead 
us to imagine that the soldiers had scoured Lauderdale and 
Channelkirk poor's box about that date. No doubt, the 
helpless people would be thrown into great consternation, 
and church attendances would be forgotten in the desire to 
escape with precious life. The " box " which was broken 
open so ruthlessly had also its romance. Six years after- 
wards, there is a homely consideration given to the old 
friend who was not to be discarded though desecrated, 
and so — 

" April 23. After the sermon the clerk brings to the session 
the old box that was broken. The session sends it to the 
smith that he may mend it and make a key for it. The 
smith accordingly mad a key for qk (whilk) he gets 6 sh. 


The session by vot (deliver) the box to Alexander Riddell 
and the key to Adam Somervell, elders." It resumes its 
wonted dignities also, for " qk day they put into the box the 
four dayes collections, April 6, April 13, April 20, April 23 : 
qk day they reckon wt Alexr. Riddell, and finds he hes 
3 lib. 8 sh. qk is not yet distribut, qk they ordere to be put 
into the box." 

We can only express the regret that time has not handed 
down to us this venerable object of the English soldiers' 
regard, and can only surmise that the care over the church 
possessions has not always risen to the level of the kirk 
session of 1656. 

While the battle of Dunbar was being decided on national 
issues, the local difficulties of Channelkirk parishioners were 
being settled by similarly rough methods. The minister 
records that a month previous to Cromwell's invasion " Patrick 
Haitly payd for drinking and reproaching Alexr. Riddell of 
Hartsyd on the 20th of Jun, 56 sh." Pat's brother James 
"on 2 Aug. 1650" pays "for himself and Margt. Simson 
£7, I OS. for a more serious fault, although to reproach an 
elder, such as Riddell was, did not pass in those days as a 
slight misdemeanour. 

There are one or two items which occur in 1653 which 
may be interesting to the curious. A lock for the kirk door 
cost twenty-two shillings, for instance, Scots money ; " build- 
ing a door up of the church, 28 sh.," " 2 soldiers' wives get 
1 2 sh.," " lime for the kirk " costs 18 sh., while there was " given 
for casting of ten thousand divvets for the kirk, ^7," and 
there was " given to craftsmen to lay them on and to sparg 
the lym, ;^9," Mr Liddell was evidently busy having his 
church put in good repair. Perhaps this was the first attempt 
to put right the shameful condition of this place of worship 


complained of so loudly by Liddell's predecessor, Cockburn. 
" Divvet " renovation was better than none. Cockburn 
grieves that "the parishioners cannot get rowme in the 
kirk, the quir (choir) being doune." This was in 1627. We 
are persuaded that nothing had been done to remedy matters 
till this year of grace 1653. The great lords had seized the 
kirk lands and kirk advowsons, and were indifferent whether 
kirks or ministers sank or swam. Liddell appears to have 
been suaver in his manners than Cockburn, who doubtless 
had a Celtic preference for speaking his mind, and perhaps 
got less attention from the heritors on this account. But the 
fact of payments of £7 and £(^ for divots and labourers puts 
them entirely aside. The work, for most part, must have 
been undertaken by the parishioners themselves, and paid 
for out of the kirk collections. Perhaps it was the more 
satisfactory way of doing it. 

There are not many other items in Liddell's record 
which would be of general interest. There are the recurring 
" poor " who receive help, and there is a significant entry " To 
a cripl and to a prisoner, 4s.," which shows that war was at 
the doors. We have also ample proof of the curious custom 
of consigning a sum of money into the session's hands when 
a marriage took place. This last item is fully explained by 
the following : — 

" Robert Halliwell being to be proclaimed for marriage with Jeannie 
Halliwell, consigned two dollars that the marriage should be consumat, 
and that there should be no promiscuous dancing and lascivious piping ; 
which two dollars was delivered to Alexander Riddell in Hartsyd, July 8, 
1655, to be kept till they should be redelivered — 5 lib. 10 sh. 

"Sept. 30, 1655. — Whilk day Alexr. Riddell redelivered to Robert 
Halliwell his two dollars whilk he consigned, and his bro.-in-law, 
Richard Sclater, becaime caution that if his daughter was brought to 
bed before the ordinar tyme, he should pay the penalty and cause her 
satisfie the church." 


It is unnecessary to say that this was a condition of social 
affairs which, in their relationship to the Church, and kirk 
sessions in especial, was prevalent during the seventeenth 
century over all Scotland. The kirk records of churches, 
the registers and minutes of presbyteries and synods, 
collections of sermons, and the Acts of the General Assembly, 
bear ample testimony to this statement. Festivals, penny 
bridals, christening assemblies, or merry-makings in any 
shape, were frowned upon by the officials of the Church as 
pertaining to sinfulness.* The John Baptist ideal of life, 
as viewed through a lurid atmosphere of sin and all its 
attendant sacrifices and suppressions, took a deep hold of 
the Scottish religious nature, and the loftier one of Christ 
with its clearer heaven of forgiveness, and the happy union 
of the human and divine affections, was almost wholly 
obscured. Still, the natural wells of human feeling had not 
totally dried up, for nothing is more persistently prominent 
in these records than the sympathetic dole of money or goods 
given to the poor. Again and again the "poor man in 
Greengelt," whose name was Andrew Johnston, the "poor 
smith in Ugston," and various others are relieved by the 
kirk session's benevolence. "James Alin and his motherless 
children " are never left out, and even the stranger has his 
share. In the bleak days of January 1657 "the session thinks 
fit to distribut 40 sh. (illings) to the 3 poor people in the 
parish, because the wether is foul and they cannot travel." 
Here is also an illustration of how the Scotch love of educa- 
tion was fostered and fed, " Feby. 15 (1657) collected 7 sh. 
whilk was fully distribut to James Alin's two sons, to pay 
their quarterly stipend to the schoolmaster." James was a 
widower, and needed, for some reason, considerable assistance 
* See Buckle's History of Civilisation^ vol. iii. 

THE MINISTP:RS and their times 173 

from the session, and, as we see, his two boys were obtaining 
their education out of the " collection " plate. But not only 
scholars : the school, also, and the schoolmaster seem to have 
been sustained out of the same intermittent source, as far 
as we can make out from mangled words, blurs, and frayed 
leaves. " 1659, May 29th, Adam Somerville, boxkeeper, by 
warrant of the sessione, depursed fyve pounds to Will Milcum 
(Malcolm?) in Netherhouden to (roof?) a house — for the 
schollers to learn in." Some years afterwards this temporary 
building would seem inadequate for its purpose, for on 25th 
Nov. 1 66 1 "the elders met and unanimously decided to pay 
the builders of the scole for that work, and to pay for the 
timber out of kirk money which Adam Somervell has in 
keeping. And they thought a schoolhouse for the school- 
master " The necessary words to complete the sentence 

are beyond our ability to decipher, but enough is given to 
support the conclusion that the session had raised a school 
for the parish and contemplated a schoolhouse also. They 
purpose, however, to use means to get back the money from 
the heritors. We trust they succeeded. 

The dead are never far from the kirk, and the records 
make frequent reference to them as a matter of course. 
" Given to John Burrek (or Burrell), for mending the hoa and 
speid and shool for making the graves, 20 sh." The " mort 
cloth," large and small, is also a source of revenue to the 
session, ;^i, 6s. 46., and 13s., being the respective sums ex- 

The village, and south of the parish, being cut off from 
the church by Mountmill Burn and Headshaw Burn, it was 
necessary to have a bridge across them for accommodating 
the people. We have therefore such allusions to it as this : 
"Sept. 30, 1655. Appointed to be a day for a voluntar 


contribution for building a bridge, the elders at the kirk door 
collected 8 lib. 3 sh." " Oct, 7. Collected half-croun 30 sh., 
from those that were absent the former day for building the 

This bridge would seem to have been over Mountmill 
Burn (then Airhouse Water) near to the top of the old glebe 
in the Haugh, where the old road from Oxton, crossing from 
near Parkfoot, sloped down to the foot of the Kirk-brae, up 
which the present road to the church still lies. There was no 
stone bridge then at Peasmountford — the situation of the 
present stone bridge, near the railway, over Mountmill Burn 
— and it was really a ford through the water at that place. 
The mark of the old road is still visible across the slope 
opposite the Kirk-brae. Collections for this bridge are made 
at different times up till November of 1655. 

Reference is sometimes made to sums collected 
" appointed for the rest of the house-meal," " given to mak 
out the house meale," which may have accrued to the minister 
when the stipend fell short in bad harvests. 

The money in use has the names of pounds, shillings, and 
pence, but " rix dollars," and " dollars " and " doits " are 
common. Bad money was rife. "May 30, 1658. The elders 
find that Adam Somervell has in the box counted by him 
52 sh,, all which being for the most part ill copper, the 
minister and (four) elders hav gotten it put off their hand, 
and good money for it, which they delivered into Adam 

Needless to say, the Lord's Supper was an affair of almost 
superstitious regard. All its simplicity and clearness of 
brotherly purpose was as completely buried out of sight by 
Presbyterians as it ever was by Romanists, The feeling of 
" Boo-man," with which children are horrified, was called up 


whenever the season of its observance came round. The awe 
and trembling with which savages regard eclipses of sun 
and moon had its counterpart in the most holy yet most 
natural of all the observances of the Christian religion. 
"March 15, 16, and 17, 1662 — At which tyme the congrega- 
tion meet for hearing sermons to prepare them for the Lord's 
Supr and to stir them up to be thankfull for that ordinance." 
An artificial and unwonted excitement of mind due to 
rhetorical whipping and frequent services was considered 
the correct spirit in which to break bread in commemoration 
of Christ. The simple majesty of the act, resting upon the 
natural faith and feelings of the sincere heart, was over- 
whelmed by whirlwinds of words and a feverish atmosphere. 
But we may not blame them who, in our present-day observ- 
ance of the same holy rite, lull our souls into delectable moods 
by such helps as low, sweet voicings, low lights, tremulous 
murmurs, mysterious fingers, smooth faces, half-shut eyes, 
grave gyrations, and all the varied machinery of pious cantrip 
and devout incantation. 

The last entry made by Liddell has kindly reference to 
his predecessor which has been noticed in its place. Liddell 
was called to the Barony Church, Glasgow, in 1662, and by 
Act of Parliament, 4th July 1661, received ^100. He had 
done splendid work during his twelve years in Channelkirk, and 
was well worthy of his promotion to so honourable a position. 
The building or repairing of the church, and the building of 
school and schoolhouse were doubtless done under his direc- 
tion and initiative, and where these two necessaries of civilised 
life were provided, little else was required in a district so 
completely rural, and moving in such circumscribed circum- 
stances. He closes his record with " Laus Deo ! " He would 
be nothing loth to leave the silent hills, with their loneliness 


and irresponsiveness, for the excitement and honours of such 
a city as Glasgow. It is said to be one of the severest trials 
the human spirit can pass through, to be trained in the emula- 
tion and vigour of student life, in cities and where societies 
thought and feeling are raised to their best levels, and in 
touch with the noblest sentiments of all ages, then to be com- 
pelled to slog along in the muddy ways of country life, with 
its torpid thought, inarticulations, crude manners, raw re- 
venges, and frozen faiths. A man may quite realise it to be 
his duty to bend his nature to these extremes, for he usually 
has first gone from the country to the university, but the 
change is too abrupt in either case, and, if it were possible, 
some medium between the feast and the fast, the turkey and 
the turnip, might be more agreeable. Liddell had doubtless 
been in Aberdeen all his life, previous to his career at 
Channelkirk, and twelve years' experience, which brings 
much from his people's affection to help a country minister, 
had not quenched his joy to return once more to a wider field 
and a loftier society. The records of the Barony Parish yield 
nothing concerning him. His name occurs repeatedly in the 
" Munimenta " * of the University, but only in formal entries, 
as consenting to deeds in his capacity of Dean of Faculties, 
and such like. He held the office of dean from 1665 -1674. 
He was elected in October of 1674, "by unanimous consent 
and common vote of all the moderators," Professor of 
Theology in Glasgow University, and took the oath. His 
successor, Alexander Rosse, was elected in 1682, so that he 
must have died about the middle of that year. The election 
is on the 27th of September, and the chair is said to be vacant 
by the death of Mr David Liddell, " lait professor thair." He 
does not seem to have published any work. 
* Maitland Club Publications. 


Walter Keith — 1663-1682 

The minister who succeeded David Liddell in Channel- 
kirk was named Walter Keyth. He comes upon the scene 
under different auspices from those attending his predecessor, 
and leaves it with a totally different character. Episcopacy 
began to grow powerful once more, and Presbyterians 
trembled for their sacred ark. The Scottish Parliament 
which met on ist January 1661, truculently forsook all the 
principles which had modelled the laws of the former years, 
and proceeded to not only pass some which were abhorrent 
to Presbyterians, but abolished those which had hindered 
Episcopacy from gaining the ascendency. The famous 
Rescissory Act of 1661 fell like a death-knell on the 
Presbyterian polity, and Episcopacy practically then came 
into force. The Marquis of Argyle was executed in the 
same year, and James Guthrie, minister of Stirling, some- 
time of Lauder, perished on the scaffold, both bowing to 
influences which were flowing adversely to the Presbyterians. 
Samuel Rutherford was marked for the same doom had not 
death snatched him from that fate. King Charles II. wanted 
Episcopacy, and took measures to effect his purpose. 
Ministers who had been ordained between 1649 and 1660 
had been chosen by the kirk-session alone, the congregation 
having right to complain to the Presbytery if they were dis- 
satisfied. All these ministers were now proclaimed as 
having no right to their livings. Here was change with a 
vengeance. But a deeper wrong was inflicted because 
offered under an insidious and immoral temptation. All 
of these ministers who should consent to receive institution 
at the hands of a bishop, and obtain presentation from 
the patron, were to be continued in their parishes, churches, 




manses, and emoluments as before. Hundreds, of course, 
scouted the terms, and were driven forth to starve, or eat 
the bread of charity. But the vacant pulpits had to be 
filled, and from the north, which had always been an 
Episcopalian preserve, "came a crowd of candidates, as 
droves of black cattle are now brought from their wilds 
to be fattened on the richer pastures of the south. The 
parishes were filled, but many of them by men infamous 
for their immoral lives, almost all of them by men despicable 
for their talents and learning." * 

Walter Keith seems to have been one of this "crowd," 
or related to it in some way, and all the characterisation 
which we have quoted appears to fit him very well. 

The year that brought Keith to Channelkirk was one 
of much division throughout Berwickshire. The Presbytery 
of Earlston consisted of nine parishes, but six of these 
were true to Presbyterianism and against Episcopacy. 
These were : — 

Gordon — John Hardie, A.M. 

Legerwood — William Calderwood, A.M., who along with his wife and 
servant took refuge in Channelkirk parish after 1663, though he 
continued to preach to his people in Legerwood, now and then, 

Merton — James Kirkton, A.M., author of The Secret History of the 
Kirk of Scotland^ quoted below concerning Keith. 

Smailholm— Thomas Donaldson, A.M. 

Stow— John Cleland, A.M. 

Westruther — John Veitch, A.M., who, like his brother William, 
vigorously preached throughout the Merse and Lauderdale, under 
the very nose of the Duke of Lauderdale, to whom he was related, 
and which relationship perhaps saved him some trouble. 

An Act of Parliament of 1662 declared that all ministers 
ordained between 1649 and 1660 had no right to their 
* Cunningham's Church History^ vol. ii., p. 95. 


livings. Of the above names, only the ministers of Smail- 
holm and Stow, who were ordained in 1640, escaped this 

Seeing that Earlston, Lauder, and Channelkirk Churches 
were Episcopalian during this covenanting period, Lauder- 
dale was exempt from hazard and has no bloody record 
to show. The people, as a rule, followed their ministers 
faithfully in those days, and, had they been so directed, 
would have died as hard for Episcopacy as they did for 
Presbyterianism. It was in general a minister's affair. 

Keith received the degree of Master of Arts from St 
Andrews University on the 9th July 1655, and was presented 
to Channelkirk 14th October, and ordained and collated 
20th November 1663. The records of his time begin : — 

" The compt of the monney collected for the poore sine 
Mr Walter Keith's admission to the kirk of Chingilkirk 
November i, 1663." 

The winter passes and spring arrives, and in March, 
on the 1 3th day, there is " no sermon, the minister being 
appointed the sd day to preach at Gordun to give admissione 
and instilatione to Mr James Straiton in ordouris his 
collation to be minister at the sd kirk." 

" Collation " to Scotch ears is a strange term, but it 
simply means the presentation of a minister to a benefice 
by a bishop. The bishop, by-the-by, comes into our 
records for the first and only time on 30th July 1665, where 
Keith has set down, " The collection given to Mistres Marie 
Kein (or Kem) by the Sessione, she having a testificat 
sub** (subscribed) by the bisshop." 

We have evidence also that matters were not too tightly 
drawn on Episcopal lines, and perhaps as hatred to 
Episcopacy was not so fierce in the east as in the west 


and south-west of Scotland, it was deemed judicious to 
temporise with the people till they were accustomed to the 
name. Church government might be called Prelatic 
Presbyterian. At any rate, Keith has still his elders 
and kirk-session, who meet with him and arrange the 
affairs of the church and parish as formerly. We 
ascertain that on 2nd October 1664 the collections 
were " compted by the minister and the elders, to wiz, 
Alexr. riddel of hartside, Wm. Knight in hairhouse, and 
Wm. Waddel in Ugstoun." " The wlk day the box put 
in ye custodie of patrick Andersone ye Schoole Mr, and 
the key delivered to thomas thomson in Hiseldain to be 
keeped by him," 

It was in the following month, on the 24th day, that three 
troopers of His Majesty's Life Guard rode to Greenknowe, 
in the parish of Gordon, and apprehended Walter Pringle, 
the laird there, for holding views adverse to Episcopacy. 
They travelled with him by Whitburn and Channelkirk, 
where they rested a night, and Keith's interest in the 
case could not be slight, as in most instances it was through 
the curates of parishes that the High Commission in 
Edinburgh received information of those who were non- 
attenders at the parish church, and were thus enabled to 
put them in prison. 

September 24, 1665, is the last date in the connected 
accounts and minutes of Keith's time, after which there 
elapse sixteen years before the record is resumed — that 
is, not till 1 68 1. It was the bitterest time known to the 
Kirk of Scotland, as it includes the interval of that sad 
and awful period when the blood of the Covenanters was 
shed like water. Not a word is given us to indicate whether 
the people of Channelkirk were Prelatic or Presbyterian 


by preference. Perhaps it was prudent to be neutral and 
to bend to the storm. The castle of the Duke of Lauder- 
dale was but a few miles distant, and he who struck such 
terror into Covenanting hearts and homes throughout all 
Scotland was not likely to tolerate anything like vacillation 
so near his own seat. The Rev. Walter does not seem 
to have distressed himself much at a throne of grace 
over the calamitous condition into which his wretched 
country had now fallen. The vindicators of spiritual 
freedom might starve, or bleed, or hang for aught he 
cared ; his aim was to enjoy himself, and, if necessary, 
purloin nefariously his joys from other people. 

Regarding him we may quote, by way of apology, what 
Principal John Cunningham has said regarding the Romanist 
priests. " We cannot conceal, though we willingly would, 
the gross licentiousness of all ranks of the clergy. Denied by 
the stern ordinance of their Church the enjoyment of wedlock, 
and unable to repress the instincts of their nature, they 
sought relief either in systematic concubinage, or in the 
seduction of the wives and daughters of their parishioners." * 
Now, if it was just to expose the priest Roman, it is surely as 
fair to pillory his brother English, remembering also that 
men's lives are for warnings as well as for wise examples. 
But an historian, t who has been variously rated, shall tell 
Keith's ugly story : — 

" I will give you ane instance of the justice our curats 
used to doe in such a case. There was one Mr Walter 
Kieth, curat in Chingle Kirk, who was, all the countrey knew 
(and many stories there were of it), a common adulterer with 
his neighbour James Wilson's wife. The poor man resented 

* Church History, vol. i., p. 206, 1882. 
t Kirkton's Secret History, p. 185. 


it, and complained to his neighbours upon it. The curat, to 
be first in play, summonds him before the Presbyterie of 
Erlistoun (his ordinary) to answer there a slander of his 
godly pastor. The man could not deny what he hade spoken 
before so many ; but because he could not by two eye- 
witnesses prove that they saw Kieth commit adultery with 
his wife, he is condemned to confess his slander in sackecloath 
upon all the pillories in the presbyterie. Yet one eye-witness 
there was ; for my Lord of Jedburgh his lackey lyeing one day 
in James Wilson's barn, saw the curat and the wife enter the 
barn, and was both eye and ear-witness to what I need not 
write. The lackey resolved to make advantage of it ; so 
after they hade left the barn, he went boldly to the curat's 
stable and took away his horse, which the curat soon mist, 
but could not find it. The next day the lackey comes that 
way rideing upon the curat's horse, and so was seased by the 
people of the village, and brought before the curat, who 
threatened him very sore ; he whispers the whole story into 
the curat's ear in so convincing a manner, the curat thought it 
even best to quite his horse for fear of a worse. Alwayes, 
poor James Wilson hade no other satisfaction but this : 
Being a vintner, he made a painter draw a pair of bull's horns 
upon his sign-post, with a scurrelous epigrame containing the 
sume of the shamefull story ; and this was a memorial to be 
contemplate by all travelling that most patent road, as I have 
seen it myself many times, and with this the curats durst never 
meddle, nor Kieth himself, though he dwelt within a few 
paces of it." 

This farm stood at one time opposite the manse, on 
the north side ; the highway only being between them. 
It was called Channelkirk farm, and New Channelkirk 
farm, near Glengelt was so called to distinguish it from 


the former. It was in existence in the early years of this 

The records of the church resume Keith's time on 13th 
December 1681. "The sacrament of the Lord's Supper 
being celebrated yr (there), was only collect for the three 
dayes ^10" (i6s, 8d.). One is surprised there was even so 
much. The year 1682 follows, and it seems Keith had fallen 
ill after the 8th January, for from that date there is " no 
sermon till the 12 of March, on qlk day Mr David Forester, 
Minr, at Lauder, preached. There was collected 3s." Keith 
died this month. 

After 1 2th March, " no sermon till the 2 of April, on qch 
day Mr Anderson Meldrum, minr. at Martin, preached." 

Then the year goes past without any sermon, and the 
preaching is resumed on 23rd March 1683. April passes with- 
out a service, in May there is one, but in June the 4th there 
is "sermon by Mr William Arat, Expectant," who became 
Keith's successor in Channelkirk Church. Keith's widow 
stayed at Channelkirk till, at least, July 1683, for there is a 
minute, " Given out to the minister's relict for two dales that 
went to the pulpit, i6s. " inserted under that month. His 
son, William Keith, followed his father's profession and was 
Presbytery bursar, and his career as a probationer may be 
partly traced in Earlston Presbytery Records (1691-1704). 

When Walter Keith died in March 1682, he was forty- 
seven years of age, and had been minister of Channelkirk 
for nineteen years. 

It was during his incumbency that the " Thirteen Drifty 
Days" transpired, viz., in 1674, when snow never once abated 
for thirteen days and nights, when sheep died in thousands, 
and farms were rendered without stock and without tenant 
for many years afterwards. The disaster to Channelkirk 


must have been terrible, but no record is left to particularise 
the calamity. 

William Arrot — 1683- 1696 

William Arrot, who succeeded Walter Keith in this parish, 
made his first appearance, as we have seen, as an " Expec- 
tant." This term meant the same thing as " Probationer " 
now. Although it was the time of Episcopalian predomi- 
nance, the system of training students for the ministry was 
carried on in the old way. The young man was trained at 
the University, then passed his trials by the Presbytery, and 
was admitted as an " Expectant." Church government was 
a curious conglomerate of both systems in Arrot's time. 
The Presbyteries were still in active authority, and the kirk- 
sessions continued to fulfil the same duties as formerly, viz., 
overseeing the poor, rebuking offenders, and such like ; the 
" bad" cases standing in sackcloth in Episcopal congregations 
just as they did in Presbyterian churches. But the bishop 
warranted the Presbyteries, and a permanent moderator 
presided over them, who was appointed not by the Pres- 
bytery but by the ordinary, or deputy of the bishop. 

Our first glimpse of Arrot is in St Andrews. He studied 
there in St Leonard's College, and had his degree from the 
St Andrews University on the 25th of July 1676. He was 
taken on trials by the Presbytery of Forfar, and was recom- 
mended for licence on ist December 1680. He preached 
in Channelkirk Church with a view to the cure on June 
4th and 30th, and on August 20th of 1682 (the year when 
the Duke of Lauderdale died), after which he seems to have 
been permanently appointed to the charge. He was about 
twenty-seven years of age at his ordination. The records 
of the church have nothing special to say regarding him. 


There are the customary notices of relief to the poor, mort- 
cloths and burials, collections and disbursements. But he 
seems to have been as careful of church and school as was 
his distinguished predecessor, Professor Liddell. During the 
incumbency of Keith, matters were allowed to lie as they 
fell, and as both buildings were roofed with divots and 
thatch, and their high elevation subjected them to the 
vehemence of every Lammermoor storm, constant care was 
necessary to ensure comfort and respectability. The 
presence of Arrot is evident in such notices as " Dales for 
the pulpit, 1 6s." " Given to George Kirkwood for covering 
the kirk, 13s." "Given to George Kirkwood for work to 
church and school, ;^3, 6s. 46." " More for two men that 
served at covering the kirk." " 10 Aug. 1684, more to 
James Broun, wright, for repairing the Comunion tables " 
— amount blank. Incidentally we may notice that James 
lived in " Bourhouses," a fact which we learn in connection 
with his wife's death there on 8th December 1683, and also 
from Lauder Burgh Records, ist July 1660, when "John 
Robertson, mason, is ordained to pay James Broun, wright, in 
bourhouse, £y, 8 scotes," as part payment for the making of 
a mill. On January loth, 1684, there was a big storm, and 
so — " no collection, because of the small convention " ! The 
present minister remembers a similar " convention " on just 
such a stormy day, when only the precentor, the beadle, and 
himself held " public worship," but there was a collection ! 
Mr Arrot notes on the 30th July of the same year " a fast 
for the harvest," which seems to point to an unfavourable 
seaison then. 

But while the common duties of a quiet country parish 
drummed round the horse-mill path of steady routine, the 
national life was flowing high, and the very throne heaved 


under the earthquake forces below it. It was the terrible 
time of Covenanting horrors. " During the years of 1682 and 
1683, the lawless soldiery continued to harass the country. 
They carried terror amid the quiet dwellers in the villages, 
they pillaged farm-houses, they traversed the loneliest 
moors." * John Grahame of Claverhouse netted or shot them 
like vermin in the field, and Sir George Mackenzie, Lord 
Advocate, took care that the meshes of law should well 
strangle them in " court of justice." Crowds were fined 
ruinously, many hanged, hundreds were sent to the West 
Indies as slaves. In February 1685, Charles II., the cause 
of all this misery — tyrant, dandy, libertine, butcher, and liar — 
passed to his account. A few more years saw his cruel 
successor, James VII., deposed from the throne of Britain, 
and the Prince of Orange seated in his place. It was like 
the sun rising after a night of storm and darkness, of peril 
and death, and men once more returned to their former 
trust in "the authority of law, the security of property, 
peace of the streets, and happiness of home." 

Presbyterianism lifted its cowed head in triumph, and 
the effect of the changed times was soon felt by William 
Arrot, curate in Channelkirk. Episcopacy, we know, was 
still strong enough in many districts, but in Lauder- 
dale Presbyterianism appears to have been universal, and 
Arrot, leaning to that form of Church government, sought 
to be recognised by Earlston Presbytery, and received into 
that communion. He first finds record there on the 20th 
August 1 69 1, when "the whilk day he producit ane Act 
of the Commission of the Ge'rall Assembly recommending 
him to the presb. to be received into presbyterian com- 
munion. The presb. taking the affair to c'nsideration, referred 
* Cunningham's Church History^ vol. ii., p. 127. 


it to the next dyet for a fuller meeting.* At Earlston, on 
the 7th September of the same year, the Presbytery "judge 
fitt that they take tryall of his gift before they proceed any 
farder, and therefore appoint him to preach before them at 
their nixt meeting on Psalm loi, beginning at the middle of 
the thrid verse." This text seems to have been specially 
aimed at his Episcopacy, and meant as a form of confession 
by him of his renunciation. " I hate the work of them that 
turn aside ; it shall not cleave to me." On the 24th of 
September he is before the Presbytery on his " tryalls." It 
is said, with a fine blending of Scotch enthusiasm and caution, 
that " with whilk sermon the presb. were extraordinarie well- 
satisfied, but before they could receive him into presbyteriall 
communion they judge it fit that a visitation of the Church 
of Ginglekirk be appointed this day fortnight, and that 
narrow inquiry be taken that day annent his life and conver- 
sation." The Presbytery meets again at Ginglekirk on the 
8th of October, when "the heritors and heads of families, 
who were frequently (numerously) present being called in, 
nothing was found culpable in Mr Wm. Arrott, his life 
and conversation, but on the contrair a good character was 
given to him by his parishioners both as to his painfull- 
ness in preaching and catechising, and his exemplariness in 
his life and conversation. After all whilk, Mr Arrott being 
called in and inquired annent his judgment (who had served 
under prelacie) of presb. government, his answer was that 
he judged it agreeable to the Word of God, and that he was 
most willing to join in supporting thereof, and that he was 
willing to subscrive to the doctrine contained in the Scrip- 
tures, and drawn out in the confession of faith and 
catechisms. After all whilk, he being again removed, the 
* Records of Earlston Presbytery (See Index of, 1691-1704.) 


presb. judged convenient that before he should be received 
to presbyteriall communion he should subscrive a declaration 
thereof under his hand, and Mr Jo. Hardie appointed to 
draw up the said declaration and present it to the next 
meeting whereat Mr Arrott was appointed to be present." 
The Presbytery next meets at Smailholm 12th October, 
and the " declaration " is duly signed by him ; and the 
Presbytery delivers itself of the following "painfull" docu- 
ment which, because it bears testimony to his life and 
character, we give in full : — 

"The whilk day (viz., 12th Oct.), the presbyterie of 
Earlston taking to their c'sideration a petition formerly 
delivered to them by Mr Wm. Arrott, Minr. at Ginglekirk, 
craveing that he might be assumed unto ministerial! 
communion and received unto the number of the presby- 
terian ministers of this church, the whilk desire was by 
this presbyterie referred to the last Ge'ral Assembly, 
and by them committed to their Commission, and last 
of all remitted by the said Commission to the said presby- 
terie, recommending unto them to take inspectione into 
the Doctrine, Life, and ministeriall qualifications of the 
said Mr Wm. Arrott and unto his affection to the Govern- 
ment, and to proceed as they should find cause. And 
the presb. having accordingly taken tryall and made 
inquirie by visitation, long and frequent conferences, and 
other due and propper ways, and finding the said Mr 
Wm. Arrott to be a person of a blameless behaviour, 
of ane edifying gift, of orthodox prin'lls (principles), of 
competent diligence in the pastoral office, and he having 
signed the Confession of Faith and declared his willing- 
nesse to submit to and joyn with presb. government, 
and his resolution to continue faithfull to the same — They 


do judge him worthy to be received, and accordingly do 
receive him, into ministerial! communion and give him 
the right hand of fellowship as one of the presbyterian 
ministers of this church and a member of the presb. 
of Erst." 

He was therefore continued in Channelkirk pastorate 

until called to Montrose. During his official life in this 

parish he seems to have been much beloved and respected 

by all classes. He took a leading part in the Presbytery 

from the beginning, and was entrusted with duties by 

them requiring the zeal of the churchman as well as the 

polite diplomacy of the gentleman. He frequently supplied 

Ormiston Church, and was deputed by the General 

Assembly to preach in those " north " country churches 

where as yet no ministers had been settled. His comfort 

in relation to his heritors was, in the usual way, disturbed 

about such things as " divvets " — no doubt for church 

and school — and he takes action against Lairds Hume 

and Auchenhay to procure them. He was by no means 

on terms of fraternal affection with his neighbour, William 

Abercrombie, minister at Lauder, who had also severe 

words for the minister of Arbuthnot. But with the 

testimony of the Presbytery before us regarding Arrot, 

it was not to be expected that he could fraternise with 

a man whose conduct was so totally vicious as to call 

ultimately for deposition from the sacred office. In a 

valley where, in the many changes attending agricultural 

life, the churches in it have often the same members, 

this was regrettable in the interests of religion and a 

consistent Christianity, but where character, office, and 

principle are all involved, distinct cleavage is the only 

option left. 


In the course of his preaching appointments in the 
" north " (Angus and Mearns), he visited Montrose. 
The church there gave him, on 26th June 1696, a call to 
be their minister, which he accepted. On 15th July 1697, 
Mr John Hardie, minister at Gordon, reported to the 
Earlston Presbytery " that he supplied Chinelkirk and 
declared the kirk vacant. Arrot was admitted on 6th 
January 1697 as follows : — 

" Montrose, Jany. 6, 1697. — Which day Mr Jo. Spalding 
preached at the admission of our Minn, Mr William Arrott, 
upon I Tim., 6 chap., 20 ver. : O Timothy, keep y't q'ch 
is committed to thy trust, and after sermon, first minister 
of the said burgh in room of the late Mr Da. Lyel by 
the Presby."* 

The following is from the same source : — 

"Jany. 8, 1697. — This day the Minr. did report that 
before his admission to be Minr. of Montrose, the Presby., 
taking to consideration the season of the year, tender- 
ness of his family, and circumstances of his affairs at South, 
upon all these considerations they did undertake that 
notwithstanding his admission they should allow him to 
go south and continue there till June next, against which 
he might conveniently transport his family to this place." 
"August the I2th, 1697, which day the Minr., Mr Arrot, 
being now come from South with his family, did call a 

By the Montrose Records, Arrot is " confined to a sick- 
bed on 1st December 1729." On 12th January 1730 he 
is "still valetudinary." He lingered on till 15th August 
of that year, when he died. He was about seventy-five 
years old. He was married to Magdalen Oliphant, who 
* Kirk Records of Montrose. 


survived him, and had a son, Andrew, who became 
minister of the historical parish of Dunnichan. There 
were also two daughters : Margaret, who married John 
Willison, one of the ministers of Dundee, and Elizabeth, 
who was wife to James Bell, the minister of Logie 



An Ecclesiastical Five Years' Waj" — June i6^y-Sept. 1702 

Election of Ministers, Past and Present — John Story — Charles Lindsay, 
Lord Marchmont's Nominee — The Patron or The People ?- The 
Presbytery and the Lord High Chancellor — John Thorburn — Case 
- referred to Synod — Referred to Commission of Assembly — New- 
Elders — New Candidates— Presbytery Distracted — Foiled Attempt 
to Elect — Presbytery obsequious to Lord Marchmont — William 
Knox — A Day of Decision — Heritors and Elders of Channelkirk — 
Election of Henry Home — Deplorable State of Religion — Presbytery 
to be Blamed — Culpability of Marchmont. 

The " transportation " of Mr William Arrot to Montrose 
created a vacancy in Channelkirk, and a vacancy in a 
Presbyterian church means a tug-of-war. The few ex- 
ceptions of peaceful settlement merely prove the rule. 
The Channelkirk vacancy was, moreover, extraordinarily 
prolonged, owing to the contest having been more than 
commonly virulent and complicated. It lasted from June 
1697 till September 1702, that is, for more than five years. 
Perhaps the case was unique. It has a certain interest 
from the part taken in it by the redoubtable Lord High 
Chancellor of Scotland, Patrick Hume, Earl of Marchmont, 
the hero of Polwarth Church vault, and the friend and 
proteg6 of the Prince of Orange. The affair is somewhat 
notable, too, as showing that an unhappy spirit of con- 


tention was no less potent then in the councils of landed 
men and men of leading in the parish, to whom the election 
of a minister was confined, than it is to-day, and en- 
gendered throughout the sacred proceedings feelings just 
as fierce and as foolish as those which prevail in our own 
time on similar occasions among the people. Religious 
controversy has ever been dear to Scotsmen, but since 
congregations ceased to take part in disputes about 
doctrines, the ecclesiastical prize fight has afforded a 
sufficient alternative. It marks the lowest point yet 
reached in a process of declension which has had move- 
ment and a varied morality through several hundred 
years. Its continuity seems assured, but it gives one 
heartaches that the highest consecrations and oftentimes 
the purest of characters should be so bowled about in 
the sawdusty areas of official appointments. Whatever 
delights may be reaped by " parties " and contestants in 
such melees, to the ministers immediately concerned in 
them, winners or losers, there is no question that the 
fires of the conflict are as the fires of the stake. The 
degradation to morals, not to mention lofty spiritual 
tone of mind, is immense. That such things must be 
is an enduring grief to many. 

As illustrating in some measure the character of a 
distinguished historical personage, and the methods of 
a Scottish ministerial election two hundred years ago, 
we treat this vacancy in Channelkirk Church in some 
detail. The records of Earlston Presbytery are our 
authority and guide throughout. 

The bugle note of battle was first sounded on the 7th 
October 1697. ^^ Earlston Presbytery, "this day Adam 
Knox and another of the elders of Chinelkirk, having 



commission from the elders of Chinelkirk, produced a 
petition to the Presbytery, desiring Mr John Story might 
be allowed to preach again to them to satisfy the non- 
residing heritors, and that one of their number might be 
sent to moderate in a call to him," Candidates had 
already been heard in a calm, decent manner, and Story 
had excited some enthusiasm in the discriminating bosoms 
of the wise elders, who rather thought " he might do." 
But the troublesome " non-residing heritors," always a 
blister to Channelkirk susceptibilities, would have none 
of him till they had heard him, and so comes this petition 
that he might be allowed to preach again. "The Presby- 
tery, taking the said petition to their consideration, refuses 
the desire thereof at this time, in regard Mr Charles 
Lindsay has not as yet preached to them." 

It is at this point that the match is applied to the bon- 
fire. This Charles Lindsay, as it turns out to be later, 
is the favourite and nominee of the Earl of Marchmont. 
Now the Presbytery look with great respect on his lord- 
ship, and for the time being put this enthusiasm on the 
part of the elders for John Story into a bath of cold water. 
The elders had come thirteen miles with their petition, 
and we can fancy that their prejudices were not formed 
in favour of his lordship's protege whose interest had non- 
plussed their scheme, nor would they spread through the 
parish when they returned home a very favourable view of 
how these sacred matters were judged in high quarters. 
His lordship had a renowned name, of course ; he was a 
zealous churchman, a white-hot Presbyterian, a great lawyer, 
a power at the king's court, and a leader in the realm. 
Why should not his choice obtain sway in an insignificant 
country parish like Channelkirk ? He had set his heart 


on Charles Lindsay. Let the Presbytery take note, and 
be good enough to bend their acts and processes accordingly. 
Should not all elders be humble and wise, and take light 
and leading from Marchmont? 

The high and wise patron is, we venture to think, the 
best solution for ministerial elections ; and the bishop in 
the church to guide and appoint is, perhaps, as genuine a 
growth of human nature and human needs as is the king 
in the nation or the parent in the home. But the people 
will not always have this man to reign over them, and 
by the old rebellious gate Satan enters and claims his 
world. He had evidently glanced in upon Channelkirk 
enthusiasts. Strange rumours had got afloat. The people's 
choice was to be set aside for that of the Lord High Chan- 
cellor. The Presbytery also seemed to be colluding with 
his lordship. They, the humble farmers and jobbers in 
an unheard-of parish, were to be eaten up without grace 
or blessing by the powers above in matters ecclesiastic ! 
A belief gained currency that Lord Marchmont had 
drenched two of the elders with his "plan," and had ob- 
tained their co-operation and that of some of the heritors 
in giving a call to Mr Charles Lindsay. Here was a 
minister to be thrust upon them without due honour 
and respect given to ruffled bosoms, glowing to embrace 
John Story ! Thereupon the parish became a mass of 
troubled water ; but what kind of an angel had gone down 
is not recorded, neither is it said whether healing virtues 
were found in the midst. The people were helpless, too, 
or nearly so, for, as has been noted, power to elect a minister 
lay not with them in those days, but with the heritors of 
the parish and the elders in the church. Notwithstanding, 
the force of public opinion is a strongly determining factor 


in this "planting of Chinelkirk." It is apparent at every 
turn of the process. 

But what was to be done? Marchmont had got his 
" call " made out, it would seem. The Presbytery might be 
smuggled into a consent ! What were distracted elders to 
do ? After due deliberation, they agreed to petition the 
Presbytery. Thereupon the canvass over the parish began. 
Names were hurriedly adhibited, and all was hustled into 
due form, and breathlessly presented to the Presbytery 
before the wily chancellor's trick took effect. " Presbytery 
(Nov. 7, 1697), i'"^ the sixth month of the vacancy, finding no 
such call tabled before them, delays the consideration of the 
petition, and appoints it to be in retentis" All the same, 
the call was in existence. The reverend conclave seem to 
have known the fact, but while willing to conciliate his lord- 
ship, they could not ignore weighty considerations on the 
popular side. His lordship's methods were also, to their 
mind, somewhat dictatorial. Was the great chancellor going 
to overlook the Presbytery as well as the elders, and give his 
Charles Lindsay the call by himself? The Presbytery has 
its suspicions. 

Meantime, Adam Scott, John Thorburn, and Thomas 
Tod, are also eager to have " a day " at Chinelkirk with a 
view to the vacant pulpit. This being granted, Thorburn 
plays his part there so well as to shift poor Mr Story from 
his pedestal in the admiring hearts of the elders. " Put not 
your trust in" — elders, Story might well have said. So on 
24th February 1698, at Earlston Presbytery, there is "a 
petition fra the Kirk-Session of Chinelkirk, presented and 
read, desiring a minister may be sent from the Presbytery to 
moderate in a call to Mr John Thorburn to be their minister." 
See, saw ! One down, the other up ! 


The Presbytery, evidently very sick of the tedious busi- 
ness, appoints three ministers to meet with the heritors and 
elders, and gives them power to moderate in a call. One of 
their number is appointed to give intimation hereof from 
Channelkirk pulpit to all concerned. But before this can be 
done, the High Chancellor again complicates matters. He 
desires that Charles Lindsay may be heard at Channelkirk 
yet another time. Would the Presbytery not concede this 
to him ? The Presbytery concedes ; his name and piety being 
potent. Intimation of a call is therefore delayed, and an 
angry protest comes from Channelkirk. The angry breeze 
there is becoming a howling storm. But between Lord High 
Chancellors, heritors, elders, and people, all at variance, what 
is the sedate Presbytery to do? On 6th October 1698 — the 
terrible year of harvest failure, of wild winds, rains, and 
snowstorms ; when great part of the corn could not be cut, 
and people died in the streets and highways, some parishes 
losing more than half their inhabitants — " the Presbytery," in 
the eighteenth month of the vacancy, " finding great difficulty 
in planting of the Church of Chinelkirk, by reason of the 
difference betwixt the heritors of the said parochin, and the 
elders, and the body of the people, refers the planting of the 
said Church to the Synod." The poor distracted Presbytery 
flings up its impotent hands in despair, and hustles the load 
on to the back of the court above it. May the Synod have 
joy of it ! This might be politic, but it was not furthersome. 
For the Synod did not appear to have clearer light. The 
Lord Chancellor was the terror. All might go well if his 
infatuation for Charles Lindsay would cease and determine. 
For be it known that Synods and Presbyteries cannot very 
well stand haughtily up against a Lord High Magnate ; such 
a friend of the Church, too, and so favoured by a Protestant 


Prince of Orange. The Synod cautiously would like to know 
if his lordship's love for Lindsay cannot be dried up by some 
desiccative process, and warily appoints ways and means to 
ascertain. But the matter on trial was too deterring to 
awestruck " brethren " who undertook this function, and 
therefore, when the 24th of November comes, report is heard 
in Presbytery that the Synod has done nothing. The 
appointments have twirled off on gusts of official wind, and 
the poor Presbytery is plunged again in anguish dire. 

Well ? Refer it to the Commission this time. Presbytery 
must wash its hands of the case somehow. In the Com- 
mission's keeping — Commission being a kind of ecclesiastical 
Court of Chancery — it is snug and safe. 

Two years of this pious embroilment pass away, and June 
1699 brings an additional complication. The chancellor's 
call to Charles Lindsay, which so alarmed petitioners from 
Channelkirk, and which the Presbytery found nowhere on 
their table in November 1697, ^ow flutters out of its state 
of hibernation, and alights with golden wing on every pro- 
minence the Presbytery possesses. No doubt of it this time ; 
and the alarms of Channelkirk elders one and a half years 
ago appear not to have been out of place. The Lord High 
Chancellor, through James Deas, advocate of Coldenknowes, 
presents a call to Mr Charles Lindsay, "subscribed by 
some of the heritors and elders " of Channelkirk, " which call 
being read, the presbyterie found themselves difficulted in 
regards there was formerly given to the presbyterie a sup- 
plication subscribed by the plurality of the elders and body 
of that people wherein they intimate their dissatisfaction 
with, and aversion from having the said Mr Charles to be 
their minister." But even if Channelkirk people and their 
petition could be overlooked, the " presbyterie " has yet more 


serious objections. " The said call was not moderate at the 
appointment and by the direction of the presbyterie ! " The 
Chancellor verily then did purpose to override their reverend 
court ! But the worm thus turns upon the wily high-planning 
Ulysses of Marchmont, and will show him that it has pre- 
rogatives and powers ! A proud spirit which does not live long. 
For after having hissed so much in the forensic ears, refuge 
is again taken within the jungle of the General Assembly's 
Commission, to which both call and case are referred with 

Almost another twelvemonth goes by, during which time 
letters, and petitions, and arguments fly thick between 
Marchmont, Earlston, and Channelkirk ; the " case " mean- 
while "depending." At last, on 19th September 1700, in 
the fourth year of the Armageddon, devout and vociferous 
John Veitch, of Westruther, " reports that the Commissioners 
from this presbyterie spake to the members of the Commis- 
sion of the General Assembly to whom the Chinelkirk affair 
was committed, and that they gave this return — that the 
Chancellor had got up his call, and that they would meddle 
no further in that affair." 

So : the Commission was as timid as the Synod to face the 
pious lion of Marchmont. The Presbytery could do no more. 
Stagnation and ineptitude were to prevail. All the Church 
courts shuddered to thwart Lord Marchmont, and to all 
appearance the people of Channelkirk would have to accept 
his nominee with the best grace possible. Yet, perhaps not ! 
The people themselves, while Church courts were laboriously 
doing nothing, took the matter up and bethought them of a 
counterplan to his of Marchmont. Election, be it re- 
membered, lay with heritors and elders only. Now, if new 
elders could be got to any considerable number, the votes 


might not fall out so conveniently for Charles Lindsay ! 
Who knew? Another petition, then, gets rolled down its 
thirteen miles to Earlston Presbytery, beseeching for new 
elders for Chinelkirk. Eight names are submitted as those 
of quite capable men. Nowadays, the necessary two can 
scarcely be got, as though God did beseech them by us ; but 
it is another matter when there is guerilla warfare to enforce, 
and a lofty lord to humble. Sweet are then the duties and 
honours of an elder. Pious is he, and fit beyond words. 

But the wily and wary Chancellor gets wind of the plot, 
and counterpetitions against these elders, and again menac- 
ingly urges Charles Lindsay. Presbytery tearfully wrings its 
hands and implores delay, and sends post-haste one of its 
number to the Commission of Assembly for their advice. 
Presbytery bethinks itself, however, that notwithstanding its 
inability to " plant " a minister, the " making of" elders need 
not stretch its strength so much, and so quietly, yet ventur- 
ously, shuffles along with that matter, hearkening with its 
deaf ear to the roar of the lion. Elders are therefore 
diligently ridden steeplechase over the stiles that obstruct 
their path. Attendances, characters, catechism, family be- 
haviour, doctrinal soundness- — all are found most excellent. 
Bang, then, go they into the most holy place. And now, 
let the Lord High Chancellor consider his ways ! 

In the intervals of controversy, and through rifts in the 
battle smoke, we discern that three probationers among 
many attain a certain distinction and favour in Channel- 
kirk quarters, and something may come of it : James Gray, 
Henry Home, and William Knox are their names. The 
elders were ordained in March 1701, and on 3rd April 
Thomas Brounlies, one of them, requests the Presbytery to 
grant "a hearing of Mr Wm. Knox and Mr Wm. Keith." 


Keith is a son of the notorious "curate of Chinelkirk," of 
whom we have already heard somewhat. Presbytery sends 
Knox, and in May, two heritors and two elders desire 
the Presbytery to moderate in a call to one of the three — 
Home, Gray, and Knox. So sick are they of the whole 
tangled matter, that they will thankfully accept any one 
of these, the more cheerfully, too, because Lindsay, the 
hated Chancellor's nominee, is not one of them. But ever 
sleepless " Patrick, Earl of Marchmont, Lord High Chan- 
cellor, one of the heritors of the parish of Chinelkirk," 
pounces down upon the cowering Presbytery once more, 
and frightens it into another fit of " delay." Still later in 
the same month, a more urgent appeal comes from heritors 
and elders of Chinelkirk to call one of the three, and still 
another letter from the menacing Chancellor, The poor 
Presbytery is at its last gasp in such a state of matters. 
But as the ages testify, light dawns at the darkest hour. 
The Presbytery, like the ox driven desperate, lolling out 
its tongue in its " forfoughen " and prostrate condition, 
with the goads of heritors, elders, people, and a pious 
Chancellor thrust into it, recalls some virility to its help, 
screws itself up to act, if possible, and fixes a day, loth 
of June, for a meeting of all concerned at Chinelkirk "to 
try if they can be brought to agree unanimously upon one 
to be their minister." Unanimously ! The Presbytery 
in its weak state sees visions and dreams dreams, A 
minister unanimously agreed upon by a Presbyterian 
electorate ! 

However, it is a policy with a glimmering of good 
in it, and on the loth of June 1701, this meeting does 
take place at Chinelkirk. Lord Polwart was there, son of 
the Chancellor, and the lairds of Trabroun, Johnstonburn 


and Kirklandhill, the inflexible Chancellor himself being 
also in the near neighbourhood, but not condescending to 
mingle among the others, all of whom seemed favourable 
to Mr Henry Home. But Sir James Hay, Lady Moriston, 
the lairds of Cruixton, Heartsyde, Nether Howden, and 
all the elders, save one, wished to have William Knox. No 
unanimity possible here. The Lord Chancellor was ap- 
proached and informed of this, and " my Lord Chancellor 
gave a commission to signifie to the meeting that he was 
sorry there was not ane union amongst them, and that there 
was a call independent, which he would prosecute as far 
as law would allow." He still clung to Charles Lindsay, 
and dared them to thwart him. The old bombardment 
of Presbytery took place as a consequence ; petitions, 
letters, vociferations, tedious to every one, and the tedious 
Presbytery found itself as usual " difficulted," craved delay, 
and resolves to ask advice from several brethren of the Synod ! 
There was one other method not yet tried which a 
Presbytery driven distracted might attempt, viz., to kneel 
at the most High Chancellor's feet, and beseech him to 
have mercy, and settle this dreadful election now going 
into its five years of unchristian bitterness. This the 
Presbytery contemplated doing. For when interminable 
petitions to " moderate in a call " showered down from 
Channelkirk, and interminable loquacious letters fluttered 
in from Marchmont, the Presbytery, " with the assistant 
brethren" — called in to strengthen the feeble knees and 
uphold the weak hands — " having pondered the above 
desire and letter," on 17th July 1701, "came to this re- 
solution, that ane letter should be writtened in name of 
the Presbytery to my Lord Chancellor, signifying their 
deference to his lordship, and how willing they would be 


to comply with his lordship's desire if the heritors, elders, 
and body of the people were of his minde." On their knees, 
then, they go before his lordship, very deferring, very 
willing, very compliant, and yet, what can one do in the 
teeth of heritors, elders, and the body of the people ? 

Presbytery is pressed out of measure by such weighty 
considerations, and falls back once more on "delay," not- 
withstanding " that pressing instances were made daily 
by the parochin for a minister to moderate in a call." 
That is to say, " It was further resolved to delay this affair 
till next Presbytery day, when the Presbytery shall grant 
the desire of the said parochin unless they find a relevant 
ground for a further delay. There was Scotch caution, 
indeed ! But it was clear that if the Lord Chancellor, the 
wordy, inextricable Patrick, should lower his brows over 
the Presbytery before next " day," the parochin might find 
its " desire " as unattainable as ever. This the wily Patrick 
proceeds to do by the usual "letter." The "day" was 
7th August 1 70 1. With the "letter" appeared, as usual, 
the faithful petitioners from Channelkirk, " insisting in their 
former desire." It is William Knox, too, probationer, 
whom they always hold aloft on their shoulders as their 
" Desire." He, to all appearance, is the favourite of the 
people. " Let this man reign over us," they cry. 

We know not whether the petitioners had been more 
than usually urgent, or that some scintillations of gracious 
concession had been made in his " letter " by my Lord 
Patrick, or that, goaded beyond all suffering, the poor 
presbyterial ox had pulled ropes, rings, and goads out of 
its tormentors' hands and made off with them, but it is 
clear that the "day" was a day of decision, and the final 
summing up of a five years' battle was at hand. 



" The Presbytery considering the contents of foresaid 
letters (the Chancellor's), and the instant desire of the 
heritors and elders above mentioned, did appoint Mr 
Robert Lever (Merton), to preach at Chinelkirk next 
Lord's day, and there and then from the pulpit to make 
publick intimation to the heritors, elders, and others con- 
cerned in the calling of a minister to that parochin to 
meet upon Thursday, the 23rd inst, for that effect." 

The meeting at Chinelkirk took place, but not on the 
23rd, as fixed, but on the 21st of September. The winding 
up of the " last scene of all " cannot be better told than in 
the words of the minute of Presbytery. 

"At Channelkirk, the 2ist day of August, 1701 years, the which day 
after sermon preached by Mr Wm. Calderwood, Mr George Johnston, 
Modr., Jo. Veitch, and Calderwood, and James Douglas, the ministers 
appointed by the presbytery of Earlston to meet at Chinelkirk, to 
moderate in a call to a minister for that parochin did meet accordingly, 
and with them the Heritors and Elders following, viz. : — 

'Patrick, Earl of Marchmont, Lord High Chancellor 
of Scotland. 

Lord Polwarth. 

William Borthwick, Johnstonburn. 

John Borthwick, Cruixton. 

John Spotswood, Advocate. 

Alex. Somervell. 

James Aitchison. 

Gilbert Aitchison. 

Simeon Wedderston. 
1^ George Somervaill. 

James Waddell. 
Thomas Brounlies. 
John Lowdian. 
James Taitt. 
James Wedderston. 
George Kemp. 


" Mr George Johnston, Modr., did constitute the meeting with prayer. 
Mr James Douglas was chosen clerk. 




" A motion was made by my Lord Chancellor, that all who were 'to 
vote in calling a minister should take the oath of Allegiance, and sign 
the Assurance, which oaths being read, the Allegiance was tendered by 
the Lord Chancellor to the heritors and elders present, and sworne by 
them, and the Assurance signed. 

" The officer being appointed to call at the church door if there were 
any heritors or others without who had right to vote in calling of a 
minister to the parochin : Compeared Geo. Douglas, portioner of New- 
tonlies, and delivered a commission to himself from Sir James Hay of 
Simprin, and others mentioned in the said commission, empowering him to 
vote for Mr Wm. Knox, preacher of the Gospell, to be minister at Chinel- 
kirk. As also Mr Andrew Cochran, portioner to Andrew Ker of Moriston, 
produced a commission from the Tutors of Moriston, and another com- 
mission from Margaret Swinton, Lady Moriston, empowering him to vote 
for the said Mr Wm. Knox ; which commissions were read, and it being 
objected by the Chancellor against the said George Douglas and Mr 
Andrew Cochran that they had no right to vote in calling of a minister by 
virtue of their said commissions, in regard all heritors and others con- 
cerned in calling of a minister are required to qualify themselves accord- 
ing to law at the tyme of signing the call." 

The matter of commissions having been adjusted, the 
great event of the day transpired. 

"The Moderator having asked the heritors and elders whom they 
designed to call for their minister. Some were for calling Mr Henry 
Home, others for calling Mr William Knox, and it being put to the vote, 
which of the said two should be elected, the roll being called, the votes 
split — seven voters being for the one, and seven for the other — and two 
non liquet. Whereupon, after a little demurring, the Laird of Cruixton, 
being one of the non Itquets, arose and demanded his letter directed to Mr 
James Douglas to be communicat to a former meeting at Chinelkirk 
signifying his assent and consent to the calling of Mr William Knox to 
be minister there ; and upon the Moderator's reply that they had not the 
letter, but the Presbytery Clerk, and that they were not the Presbytery — 
did instantly vote for Mr Henry Home, and a call being produced be 
my Lord Chancellor to the said Mr Henry, he did subscribe the same 
with others, which being done, and George Douglas and Mr Andrew 
Cochran called in, the meeting was closed with prayer." 

Twelve months afterwards, five of the six elders protested 

in due form "against the ordaining of Mr Henry Home 

minister of Channelkirk," but the Presbytery " found nothing 

of moment in this paper," and proceeded with his settlement, 


which took place at Channelkirk on 23rd September 1702, a 
year and a month after his election to the vacancy. The 
elders had greater reason to complain to the Presbytery con- 
cerning Mr Home in the years following. 

So ends the ecclesiastical Waterloo of Channelkirk. It is 
impossible to review the deplorable state of Church matters 
here laid bare in the hard and dry statements of Earlston 
Presbytery minutes, without feeling that whoever was to 
blame, the Church of Channelkirk was deeply injured in 
its highest interests by such unseemly procedure. No doubt 
it was a remote parish, and its inhabitants were few, but its 
very weakness and want of influence should have commanded 
consideration from those who had the control of its spiritual 
welfare. Instead of this, there is evident in every step of the 
clerical and unclerical processes, a wanton and selfish dis- 
regard of the honour of religion, and the spiritual wants of 
the people. Personal whim and arrogance cloud every 
judgment and stamp every action ; and in order to obtain 
individual triumphs the common Christianity of the district 
is disgraced and besmirched by those whose names were 
its proudest boast throughout the nation. The people stand 
out spotless in the affair because their power was nil, and 
they only " desired " a speedy settlement. The elders, no 
doubt, were fluctuating in their behaviour and " choices," but 
their endeavours to place their church on a proper and 
respectable footing were praiseworthy and admirable. The 
Presbytery was, we think, to be blamed for its supineness 
and want of courage to do its plain duty. The fear of 
man was more to it than the fear of God. The same 
paralysis of will before courtly influence is manifest also 
in the Synod and in the General Assembly's Commission, 
But the chief indictment must be found against Lord 


Marchmont, who, by sheer splenetic stubbornness and 
self-will, resisted the decent settlement of the church for 
five bitter years, out of regard to a man who does not seem 
to have possessed one distinctive virtue or gift sufficiently 
attractive to create for him a single supporter in the entire 
parish. We are perfectly cognizant of the Lord High 
Chancellor's claims to veneration and respect. His sacri- 
fices for religion cannot be dimmed, nor can they be 
eliminated from the history of a period which abounded in 
noble sacrifices. But we must sorrowfully maintain that 
the Duke of Lauderdale's epithet " factious," and Lord 
Macaulay's* estimate of him as a man "perverse," "in- 
capable alike of leading and of following, conceited, captious, 
and wrong-headed," are amply sustained by his conduct 
in this case of Channelkirk vacancy. He was not too 
high to stoop to despicable dodging, and he uses his great 
reputation to overawe all who were concerned in the carry- 
ing out of plain legal processes. He systematically dis- 
regarded throughout the loudly expressed wishes of heritors, 
elders, and the people of Channelkirk, and treated the 
Presbytery, the Synod, and the Assembly's Commission 
as feudal vassals in his lordly superiority. He did 
injustice to the Church, to her courts, and to her peasant 
worshippers, and, above all, to the Master whom he so 
ostentatiously professed to serve. 

He was the representative of the throne in the General 
Assembly of 1702. We do not doubt for a moment that 
he would sustain that honourable office to the satisfaction 
of all concerned, but how could he face the Shepherd of 
the sheep in the Assembly when he had been busy worrying 
one of His flock on the Lammermoor Hills? 
* History of England. 



Henry Home — The Records — Lithuania — Home as a Preacher — 
Public and Domestic Troubles — Libelled by Presbytery — Death 
decides — The Rebellion of 1745 — Cope's Halt at Channelkirk— 
Prince Charlie at Channelkirk — Church Discipline — David Scott — 
Church Property — Scott's Description of the Church — Stipend 
Troubles — New School— Declining Health and Death — Thomas 
Murray — Heresy Hunting — Recalcitrant Parishioners — Sabbath 
Breaking — Becomes a Heritor — Stipend Troubles — Farmers in 
Channelkirk in 1800. 

Henry Home — 1702-175 1 a.d. 

Henry Home sat down in a parish reeking with dislike 
of him. He was cleariy " the heritors' man." Regarding 
his early life we know nothing. He was born about the 
year 1675, and it appears he was educated at Edinburgh 
University and graduated Master of Arts there, 13th July 
1695.* After serving a probationary period in Chirnside, 
Berwickshire, and " supplying " churches here and there, 
he was elected to Channelkirk, as we have seen, on the 
2 1st of August 1 70 1, and ordained, under protest from all 
his elders save one, on the 23rd of September 1702. The 
Kirk Records of his time, which are in his handwriting, 
are sparse in items of local interest, as Home, for certain 
reasons which appear below, was particularly chary of 
* Catalogue of Graduates. Bannatyne Club Publications. 


putting his statements in black and white. Where one 
page would be given by others to " Collections," and another 
to " Depursements," he crams both on to one sheet, and 
renders it impossible to state anything in detail. There 
are many blanks also which have sinister tales to tell. 

The records of his regime begin with May 28, 1704. 
The Sacrament we learn was celebrated once a year in 
June, July, or August, the month, to all appearance, being 
varied according to the local requirements. A pair of 
silver cups for Communion purposes were purchased on 
13th May 1706, and appear to have continued in regular 
use till January 1885, when they mysteriously disappeared 
at the burning of the manse. One item under 2 1st Sep- 
tember 17 1 8 arrests our attention. "To Protestants in 
Lithuania, ;^I5, 5s." One naturally asks what earthly 
connection had Lithuanian Protestants to do with Channel- 
kirk ? Perhaps the following from Carlyle may explain : 
" Insterburg, 27th July 1739. (Crown Prince to Vol- 
taire). — Prussian Lithuania is a country a hundred and 
twenty miles long by from sixty to forty broad ; it was 
ravaged by pestilence at the beginning of this century, 
and they say three hundred thousand people died of 
disease and famine."* "Since that time, say twenty years 
ago, there is no expense that the king has been afraid 
of, in order to succeed in his salutary views." " Twenty 
years ago" would mean the year 1719. This is about the 
time when Channelkirk compassion was moved to charity, 
and sent its mite of help to those far-off stricken regions. 
Three years later — in December 172 1 — "To Protestants in 
Saxony, ^^13, 7s.," displays a similar disposition. The 
famous Salzburger persecution may likewise have had 

* Frederick the Great, vol. iii., p. 27 1 ; vol. iii., c. 3. 



something to do with it. This wide interest in events and 
places lying far from such an isolated country parish is 
very notable. We have, for further example, such an entry 
as the following : " To St Andrews Harbour, ^3, 4s." 
This occurs under "August 3, 1729," when, it seems, the 
good people of that ancient city were exercising them- 
selves in building a harbour out of the stones of their 
ruined cathedral. 

The local interests, however, are not forgotten. Wintry 
storms and equinoctial gales seem to be answerable 
for the following : "May 8, 1720. — To thatching the kirk, 
^i, 4s." This thatch does duty for four years, when the 
entire church undergoes repairs of a more permanent kind. 
On 25th June 1724, the heritors meet with Presbytery, and 
Home reports on kirk and manse repairs. He says he is 
" much straitened for room in his manse." But the church 
alone seems to have been touched, and on the above date 
the kirk bade farewell to a thatched roof, and for the first 
time was covered with slates brought all the way from 
Dundee. About this time the slating of churches became 
general in the district, and that of Channelkirk seems to 
have been among the first to be treated in this manner. 

At the present day we should surmise that Home was 
popular as a preacher, as he was in much request at sacra- 
ment seasons with neighbouring ministers. We find him 
often at Lauder, Stow, Fala, Humbie, Yarrow, Edinburgh, 
and once in 1741, September 27th, at Whittingehame. At 
the last-mentioned place he was " assisting his nephew," 
George Home. 

As a minister it was his painful duty to take up an 
attitude against local transgressors, but it must have been to 
him " sharper than a serpent's tooth," to see his own flesh and 



blood stand at the bar of the Church Court. Nevertheless, 
the legend runs: "24th Feb. 1741 — William Eckford and 
Marion Home were called to compear before the Session " 
(the Reverend David Duncan being moderator pro tempore) 
" for their Irregular Marriage, and after prayer they were 
interrogate when the}' were married ; declared that they were 
married upon the 3rd of Sept. last, and produced their testi- 
ficats testifying the same signed by David Campbell, minr. 
After they were sharply rebuked, and seriously exhorted to 
live all their days in the fear of God, were dismissed." Mr 
Home had married Jean Henryson, probably one of the 
Henrysons of Kirktonhill, on 23rd September 1702, and this 
delinquent of his flock, Marion, his second daughter, had 
made a " runaway match." " Irregular marriages," as they 
were called, were very frequent offences in those days. They 
were always sustained, however, after confession, and the 
" sinners " admitted once more to " all the privileges of 
Church membership." Mr Home's eldest daughter was 
called Jean, and the youngest Anne. These three Graces 
seem to have completed his family, and they were all alive 
and "above sixteen years" on 3rd December 1745. 

About this time, troubles of the direst kind began to fold 
around poor Mr Home, and his years afterwards must have 
been as devoid of brightness as the place of his dwelling, 
when the mists of November roll like milk curd through all 
the glens of the Lammermoors. His parishioners had firmly 
made up their minds that they did well to be angry with 
him. His very domestic servants felt justified in abusing 
him. His neighbour, Henryson of Kirktonhill, was at bitter 
variance with him, the heritors eyed him unfavourably, his 
manse was in a wretched state, and he declares " he had not 
a dry roof for years past," and to crown this pyramid of pity, 


his daughter Marion elopes, and the Presbytery of Earlston 
Hbel him for various misdemeanours ! A weltering district 
of purgatorial pains surrounded him, if it was not a Persian 
trough of Skaphism. In other respects he seemed pros- 
perous, and had been for many years the proprietor of 
Kelphope, and a heritor in his parish. What malignant 
microbulous influence dogged him ? We shall see. But we 
must go back a few years. 

On the 19th of October 1739, he complains to the Pres- 
bytery, in the presence of Wm. Henderson of Kirktonhill, that 
Henderson " some months ago " " had come into his yard, and 
cut a growing tree, and carried off a part of it." This had 
become a matter of litigation before the Bailiff of Lauderdale 
and a Justice of the Peace, Henderson maintaining that 
Home had no right to the ground where the tree grew, and 
that he had merely the use of it during his father's pleasure. 
It appears to have been " arranged " amicably. 

Home has a more serious business in hand five years 
afterwards. He came to the Presbytery on the 6th 
September 1743, with a document of indictment called a 
" libel " in his hand, in which he avers that Katherine Waddel, 
his servant, had " grievously reproached " him during the 
months of June, July, August, and September of 1742 — 
" alleging (as he said) that I had rudely at my own house 
attacked her chastity," etc., etc. We leave out all the other 
details particularised in the incriminating sheet. He asserted 
his innocence, and convinced the Presbytery that he had been 
wronged, and thereupon the Presbytery find this scall to be 
" a scandalous person," and condemned her to be rebuked 
before the congregation at Lauder, her native place — all of 
which was duly carried out, and Mr Home absolved from 
the scandal. 


But another matter, which came up before the same Court 
in 1745, proved more formidable for him, and we are doubt- 
ful if it has not left an indelible stain upon his character. It 
emerges in May of that year, when Alex. Dalziel of Hartside, 
James Somerville, George Somerville, George Wight, and 
Archibald Smith appeared at Earlston with "a note of 
some particulars to be laid before the Presbytery extracted 
from books, relative to the complaint " at the instance of the 
heritors and elders of Channelkirk, " against Mr Hoom his 
manasfement of the Poors Funds." The heritors had been 
urged to libel him, but demurred to going so far. The Pres- 
bytery, however, took a grave view of the state of affairs, and 
met at Channelkirk, and, after investigation, a committee 
was appointed to search into the truth of things. This 
Committee reported to Presbytery on loth March 1746, and, 
as the result, the Presbytery libelled him on the 17th. In 
popular slang phrase he was accused of having " cooked the 
kirk books " for more than forty years, but in the dignified 
terms of the indictment he was charged with having laid 
aside a due sense of his character and the duties of his office 
in perpetrating " crimes and offences " intolerable in one of 
his calling. Having been treasurer of the kirk " collections," 
he had peculated the money and appropriated it to his own 
uses, thus robbing the poor of God, deceiving the heritors and 
elders, and deliberately falsifying the accounts to conceal 
detection. Meetings of session were set down which never 
took place, the elders were made to approve proceedings 
which never happened, mortcloths were bought for heavy 
prices that had been unknown to the parish, and innumerable 
" travelling poor " had received doles of cash from him who 
were never born, neither had travelled that way. 

Mr Home declared his innocence once more, and appealed 


to the Synod. Meanwhile, a very unsatisfactory ecclesiastical 
embroilment took place in the parish. The church had been 
left empty, and, apparently, no one went to Communion. 
Therefore the elders and leading churchmen met at Glengelt 
on 27th May 1747, and concocted a letter to the Presbytery, 
" bearing that there is a great number in the said parish of 
Channelkirk who will not submit to Mr Home's ministry, 
and desiring the Presbytery to allow some of their members 
to administer church privileges to them." He had also been 
accused of refusing "lines," i.e., disjunction certificates, to 
objecting persons, but this he stoutly denied. The letter 
was signed by George Wight, William Allan, James Somer- 
ville, and George Somerville, but the Presbytery did not 
comply with their request. The two first named had indeed 
resigned office on 22nd April 1747, but they were reasoned 
with and had withdrawn their demission. 

The decision in his case was finally settled, not by the 
Synod or the General Assembly, but by kindly Death, who 
deposed Mr Home according to his wonted fashion, on 
Wednesday, the 19th of June 1751, he being about seventy- 
six years of age and in the forty-ninth of his ministry. The 
heritors and elders met after his burial and examined the 
books, and charged his heir and son-in-law, William Eckford, 
with the amount of the defalcation, and he having reimbursed 
the church funds to the full, the whole sad case came to an 

The rebellion of 1745, which took place during Mr 
Home's incumbency, did not pass without making its due 
impression on the affairs of Channelkirk. The pathetic 
minutes of its attendant miseries speak for themselves. 
" 3rd Feb. 1745, to 2 highlanders travelling home, 4s." 
" 22nd Sept., to several wounded soldiers and wifes with 


children, 3s. 2d." " Soldiers at several times (6th Oct.), 
3s. 9d." The road had been well filled with such pitiable 
creatures. Some of them never went further than Channel- 
kirk churchyard ; Prince Charlie and all his pretensions 
thenceforth ceasing to trouble them more. " 24th Nov., 
to rebel highlanders' graves, ;^i, is." Again in " 1746, 
Jan. and Feb., to wounded soldiers and their wifes travelling 
on the road, ^3, 4s." " To soldiers, etc. " (the " etc. " means 
wives and children, doubtless), "as in the clerk's account, 
£1, 4s." " 3rd August, to several soldiers, lame, with wifes, etc." 
" Sept., to some soldiers and yr. wifes." " To soldiers going 
south." And as late as in 1747 there is this reminiscent 
item : " To a soldier wounded and wanting the hand, 4s." ; 
and even in 1748 wounded soldiers, wives and children, are 
too painfully present in the records, there being about a 
dozen references that year alone. But this was to be ex- 
pected, Channelkirk being situated on the main road into 
Lauderdale, the route of part of Prince Charlie's army. 

The Rev. Henry Home must have found the people of 
Channelkirk parish too excited with the presence of the 
rebel troops on the 3rd November (Sunday), when they 
quartered at the village on their way south, for we find that 
there was " no sermon " that day. But the incidents of 
Cope's ride, and Prince Charlie's march through our district 
on these historical occasions, are best narrated in the words 
of those who have highest claims to speak concerning 

After the battle of Preston, 21st September 1745,* " He 

(Sir John Cope) retired with his panic-stricken troops up a 

narrow path leading from Preston towards Birslie Brae, 

which the country people, in honour of him, now call Johnnie 

* History of the Rebellion^ 1745, vol. i., p. 161. R. Chambers, 1827. 


Cope's road, and striking into another cross-road to the 
south, he made with all his speed for the hills above Dalkeith. 
He did not draw bridle till he had reached Channelkirk, a 
small village at the head of Lauderdale, twenty miles from 
the fatal field. He there stopped to breakfast, and wrote a 
note to one of the Officers of State, expressing in one 
emphatic sentence the fate of the day. He has been de- 
scribed by a person who saw him there, as exhibiting in his 
countenance a strange and almost ludicrous mixture of 
dejection and perplexity. That he was still under the 
influence of panic seems to be proved by his not consider- 
ing himself safe with twenty miles of hilly road between 
himself and the highlanders, but continuing his flight 
immediately to Coldstream upon Tweed, a place fully 
double that distance from the field of battle. Even here he 
did not consider himself altogether safe, but, rising early 
next morning, rode off towards Berwick." 

Prince Charlie's march is given in the words of the same 
author.* " On the evening of Friday, the ist of November, 
a considerable portion of the army, under the command of 
the Marquis of Tullibardine, took the road for Peebles, 
intending to proceed to Carlisle by Moffat. The remainder 
left Dalkeith on the 3rd, headed by the Prince on foot, with 
his target over his shoulder. He had previously lodged two 
nights in the palace of the Duke of Buccleuch. This party 
took a route more directly south, affecting a design of meet- 
ing and fighting Marshal Wade at Newcastle. Charles 
arrived, with the head of his division, on the evening of 
the first day's march, at Lauder, where he took up his 
quarters at Thirlestane Castle, the seat of the Earl of Lauder- 
dale. Next day, on account of a false report that there was 
* History of the Rebellion, vol. i., p. 209. 


a strong body of dragoons advancing in this direction to 
meet him, he fell back upon Channelkirk in order to bring up 
the rear of his troops, who had lingered there during the 
night. He marched that day (4th) to Kelso." 

A similar account is given by Murray of Broughton in 
his Memorials* " He (Prince Charlie) moved on ye 3rd, in 
the morning, at the head of the first column, to Lauder, 
and took up his quarters that night at Lauder Castle." " A 
part of the column he commanded being quartered at Gingle 
Kirk, a village about four miles short of Lauder, he returned 
there early in the morning to bring them up to the main 
body, and then began his march for Kelsoe." 

Another writer adds a few particulars : f " The Prince 
lodged in Thirlestane Castle, and occupied the north room 
behind the billiard-room, since known as Prince Charlie's 
room. The castle was not occupied at the time, and bed- 
ding, etc., had to be brought from an inn in the town, since 

There is a tradition that Cope slept a night in a house in 
Lauder, now demolished. It will be seen that the accounts 
here given discountenance this view, but attach the " inn " 
tradition to the Prince. 

When the Prince reached Lauder on Sunday night, there 
was doubtless much need of refreshment. An interesting 
account is given of one of these " orders." 

" 3 Nov., at Lauder, Sunday. 

To 15 pound candels, at 8d., .... los. od. 

„ Bread, 6s. 4d. 

„ AUe, I2S. 4d."t 

* Pp. 236-7. 

\ ItiTierary, by Walter Biggar Blaikie, 1897. Note. 

XLyon in Mournings vol. ii., p. 117. 


The "drouth," it would seem, as in FalstafTs case, was 
greater than the hunger. 

The road by which both Cope and the Prince arrived at 
Channelkirk is now disused. It was then the main road 
between Edinburgh and Lauderdale, and was long used by 
the coaches. The dining-room of the manse is built immedi- 
ately over it, and it passed between the manse and the old 
inn at which Cope breakfasted, and in which the soldiers of 
the rebellion lingered on Sunday night, 3rd November. 
The inn on the north side of the manse was taken down 
about thirty years ago, and the spot is now partly covered by 
shrubs, and the diverted old road which abruptly bends round 
the north side of the manse grounds. 

The peculiar discipline of the Scottish Church of the 
last century finds its reflection in one or two entries under 
Mr Home's handwriting. The following is a sample : " 1736, 
2nd May. — It is reported to the Session that Mrs Inglis 
had gone about brandy and brought it home on the Lord's 
Day ; appoints the Minr. and George Wight to inquire into 
that affair and make their report." The 2nd May was 
Sunday, and when next Sunday returns the report runs : 
"9th May. — The Minr. reports that he had spoke with 
Mrs Inglis anent her bringing home brandy on the Lord's 
Day, that she expressed her sorrow therefor, and that he 
had rebuked her and cautioned her never to commit 
the like in time to come." Similar also is another case : 
"6th June 1736. — There was a complaint made by one of 
the members that Mr Boost brought home on the Lord's Day 
from Lauder, bread and some flesh. Appoints the Minr. 
and James Somervail to converse with him." The usual 
rebuke and exhortation followed. 


David Scott — 1 751 -1792 

From June 175 1, when Rev. Henry Home died, till 
October of the same year, intermittent services were held 
in the church by various ministers. But on the 27th of the 
latter month " Mr David Scott, probationer, preached : 
Coll. ;^i, 17s. 6d." On 19th January 1752, intimation 
was given from the pulpit to heritors and elders to meet 
on " Thursday, the 30th instant, to call Mr David Scott, 
preacher of the Gospel in North Leith, to be minr. in this 
parish." He was born in 17 10, and consequently was now 
in his forty-first year. He seems to have been educated at 
St Andrews University, and was licensed by that Presby- 
tery on 2 1st December 1737, and thus was a probationer 
of fourteen years' standing when he came to Upper Lauder- 
dale. He was presented by James Peter of Chapel in 
December 175 1, and ordained on the 7th of May 1752, 
and "entered to his ministry and preached" on the loth 
of the same month. The settlement appears to have been 
a harmonious one, wonderful to say, for Scott was ordained 
at a time when turbulent settlements were the order of 
the day. Fifty such cases had been before the General 
Assembly during the ten years preceding 1750. The reason 
is to be found in the want of uniformity of rule in the Church 
as to ministerial appointments. " The law of patronage was 
written in the Statute Book, but it was not yet fully recog- 
nised in the courts of the Church. The call was still uni- 
versally acknowledged as necessary to the pastoral tie, but 
there was a difference of opinion as to who were entitled 
to give it. There was consequently little uniformity in 
the way in which appointments were made. Sometimes 


the patron exercised his right, and sometimes he let it 

The method in Scott's case was for the patron to present, 
and heritors and elders to call him. Both presentation and 
call falling on the same person, the appointment was bound 
to be pleasant all round. Scott thus had both wind and 
tide in his favour, and opening his course in May, he had 
also the summer sunshine to gladden his heart. Few 
lovelier sights meet the eye than that which is to be seen 
on a May morning on stepping from the manse door of 
Channelkirk. We are sure Mr Scott appreciated his 
" pleasant places." 

Church accounts and poor's money having been set right, 
the church property was his next care. On 2nd November 
1752, "there was produced said day, in presence of Mr 
David Scott, minister, William Eckford, James and George 
Sommervaills, elders, Two silver Communion Cups, four 
mortcloths, three of which are old and very much worn, 
a large Communion Tablecloth, measuring twelve yards, 
and a small ditto, with ' Channelkirk ' sewed and marked 
into them; a pewter plate marked '1709'; a cloth for the 
pulpit ; a poor's box with keys, all which were committed 
to the Session's charge." 

We find many interesting gleanings in the records 
which he has handed down to us, but it may be more 
convenient to continue the items that bear particularly 
upon the church, and then incorporate other matters in 
groups by themselves for the sake of order. 

The sacred building needed careful attention from time 
to time, and was often a source of distraction to the 
ministers on this account, and Scott did not miss his 
* Church History, Cuningham, vol. ii., p. 334. 


share. Fifty-one years seem to have elapsed before he was 
called upon to make representations regarding its need 
of repairs to the heritors. The last repairs were done in 
1724. But when 1775 saw Zion's walls fast becoming a 
ruin and a desolation, he spoke in no uncertain voice, and 
as his description of the church as it appeared at this time 
is so graphic, and so full of the character and spirit of the 
last century, we readily copy out his deliverance, as follows :* 
" Mr Scott, minister, represented," at a meeting of heritors 
17th February 1775, "that the external situation of the 
church is so unfavourable that it will prove ever hard to 
resist the violence of all storms and tempests to which it 
stands expos'd. But there's no remedy for this but 
frequent and timely repairs of the fabrick to avoid greater 
expenses. And as to the internal structure, that is so mean 
and sorry as to have more the look of a common jail than 
of the house appropriated to the worship of God." He 
had brooded over the matter long and bitterly, it is evident, 
and no simile is base enough to satisfy his scorn. He pro- 
ceeds : " The walls are extreamly dark and dismal " (the 
present minister has seen them as sooty as soot could make 
them), "having never received a trowel of plaister since it 
was built. The roof most gloomy and admissive of air and 
drift at all quarters. The windows are so little and confin'd 
that they can scarce admit so much light as is necessary 
to read the Bible, so that it requires no small degree of 
resolution and patience to attend divine service there through 
all the rigours of winter. Our meetings in this season 
being so thin and small as to occasion great diminution 
of publick funds ; our collections are dwindled to nothing. 
The people complain that it's not in their power to attend, 
* Heritors' Records. 


and that it's fit to freeze and cramp all the powers of body 
and mind. Now, methinks, it argues no small contempt of 
God and religion when men think no cost or finery too 
much to bestow upon themselves, and yet adopt the 
meanest accommodation as good enough for the service 
of God. The pious King of Israel could not be easy in 
his house of cedar, while the Ark of God dwelt in curtains, 
and his wise son. King Solomon, first built the temple of 
the Lord before he built the palace for himself And such as 
are well disposed will not think much to honour God with 
a small part of the substance He, as the Universal Pro- 
prietor of all, has conferred on them, I would not here 
be understood to plead for decoration, but simple decency 
in the house of God." " After this just representation of 
the case, the heritors present or by their proxies to the 
number of seven, frankly took the matter under their con- 
sideration, and narrowly inspected the whole fabrick, and 
thought necessary to plaister the whole walls and roof of 
the church, that the lights should be enlarged, the floors 
of the two galleries mended, viz., that of Carfrae and that 
of Glengelt, in order to prevent the dirt and dust from 
falling down on those below, who for some time past have 
suffered considerable abuse that way. Thought it proper that 
both said galleries should be closely plaistered up below." 
On 17th March 1775, all this was carried out. His joys 
in this direction were multiplied in 1784, when a new manse 
was given to him. There had been propositions of patching 
up the old one. It measured 32^ ft. long by 14 ft. broad, 
inside the walls. The Marquis of Tweeddale advised a new 
one, and a new one was at once contracted for. The new one 
was to be 37 ft. by 20 ft. within the walls, but it was made 
39 ft. long. The walls were up by September of 1784, and 


when Whitsunday of 1785 brought the summer once more to 
the hills, the minister was snug within his braw new house. 

In those days the ministers thought it no disrespect to the 
dead to pasture their four-footed property on the graveyard. 
The heritors asked Scott to " give up all right of pasturing 
the churchyard with his cattle in time coming, to which he 
consented." But he had no rights of grazing to give away, 
although the grass was his. The heritors found a quid pro 
quo, however, when Scott refused to let them "finish the 
churchyard coping of the dyke with ' fail ' taken from the 
churchyard," and they had to find it in Glengelt lands at last, 
and, of course, Borthwick complained ! They were plunder- 
ing his land ! 

Mr Scott raised a process in 1778 of augmentation of 
stipend, and on the 27th January 1779, obtained it to a con- 
siderable degree, though in consequence of the different 
disputes among the heritors the locality was not adjusted 
until the 21st January 1789. But even with the augmenta- 
tion, his yearly income did not exceed £^ i sterling. In his 
petition to the Lords of Council and Session he says : " The 
parish of Channelkirk is situated on a very mountainous 
country, and, of course, exceedingly cold, the manse and 
kirk itself being placed near the top of Soutrahill, so that the 
victual raised in this country is of a very bad quality, very 
often obliged to be cut green, and badly winnowed." As 
the stipend fell to be paid in kind till 1808, unripe victual 
would be a great source of misery to him. It would not sell, 
it would not keep. In his account book,* dating from 175 1, 
he notes that he got delivery of bear from certain parties, and 
notes " infield corn " to show its superiority over " outfield corn." 
He grumbles that some farmers give him " bad oats," that one 
* Channelkirk Stipend Case, Teind Office, Edinburgh. 


has " three pennies too little," and that another is " wanting 
a bagfull and a full use and wont." No doubt these were 
" contumacious seceders," as he styles them irefully. He 
wrestles in law with Borthwick for two stones of cheese, and 
to the present day the stipend is usually 12s. richer because 
of them. John Pringle, Soutrahill, was accustomed to buy 
his meal, but occasionally he had to take it to Dalkeith 
market. In 1778, he complains that "people in the parish 
are obliged to carry everything to the capital in order to get 
ready sale for their different commodities, being the only 
method they have of making up their rents, which are at 
present come to a great height. This circumstance drains 
the country of all the necessaries of life, and obliges the 
minister and others standing in need of them to pay double, 
and sometimes triple, the prices which he could have had 
them at when first he entered the parish." Servants' wages 
are also at a great extent. He cannot have a manservant 
under £$ sterling yearly, at least, even of the very worst sort, 
and if they understand their business, considerably higher ; 
and maidservants, £^ or £4 yearly. He also complains of 
increased expenses in going to and coming from Presbytery. 

Mr Scott mentions a few local matters which are of 
interest. A new school was built in 1760. On the 23rd of 
August 1 76 1, Dr Jamieson's corpse stood all night in the 
kirk, for which ;^I2, 12s. Scots (£1, is. sterling) were 
charged. The same month James Wilson, a " contumacious 
seceder," is prosecuted for the usual sin, and fined by the 
Commissary in ;6^io Scots (i6s. ojd.). The " seceders" gave 
him considerable trouble. It appears that although they 
did not attend the parish church the fines accruing from 
their " penalties " were due the church for the poor, and 
refusal to pay resulted in compulsion. 


* Mason's wages were, in 1764, 14s, (Scots) per day (is. 2d. 
sterling). Labourers' wages, lod. sterling a day. Bad 
money was very prevalent. In 1757, the Church sells 16 lbs. 
of bad copper at lod. Scots per lb. = ;^8 Scots, or 13s. o|d. 
sterling. A coffin costs is. Sfd. ; a stone of meal is. sterling ; 
digging a grave cost 3d. ; a new spade cost 3s. 2d. The bell 
was rung for a year for 4s. ; for an irregular marriage the 
fine was 5s. A new tent for the Sacrament cost £2^ 6s. 4|d. 

It is noted that on the 4th October 1772, a man is 
buried in Channelkirk who had been murdered at Hunters- 
hall, or Lowrie's Den, an event which must have caused 
some consternation in the district. 

There is a rather striking sculptured tombstone with a 
woman's bust roughly chiselled on it, and a dog recumbent 
at the base,, which is set against the south-west corner of 
the present church. " Thomas Watherstone, Brewer in 
Cranston, gave to the poor 5s. (5d.) fori liberty to set up " 
this "monument" in memory of his father and mother, in 
the year 1781. 

The year 1774 seems to have been specially hard upon 
the poor, and these " poor " years came rather frequent. 
The" heritors and church had always plenty of outlets for their 
charity. When a person was taken on the list of " enrolled 
poor," an inventory of their possessions was taken by the 
heritors' clerk, and when said person died, these were sold 
for behoof of the remaining poor of the parish. The hungry 
living had mouthfuls in turn of the hungered dead. It was 
also necessary that the "travelling poor," yclept "tramps" 
in our irreverent days, should be conveyed from parish to 
parish if need demanded, and there are many items of 
expense to " carting " this, that, and the other one to " Fala." 



In 1784, " Two cartload of women in great distress going 
to Fala " is one out of several. 

Mr Scott, in the course of his long ministry in Channel- 
kirk, had his bits of trials and worries also. He is frequently 
"sick," and on 21st and 28th of June, and the 5th of July, of 
the year 1772, three Sundays consecutively, he is in bed 
and there is " no sermon," " the minister being bad of a sore 
leg he gote bruised upon Lauder tent." With our reminis- 
cences of tents as peculiar only to fairs and fetes, with 
jocund lads and lasses crammed along the rough deal tables, 
this " bruise " of the minister's leg might have had profane 
suggestions. But the " tent " of those days was strictly 
identified with " Sacrament day," and some accident due 
to imperfect construction or strength of timber had been 
the cause. Perhaps he was a man of robust build, and his 
weight had proved too much for the erection. Ten years 
previous to his death there are signs of the old man 
growing less able for his labours. He is " badly " in June 
and July of 1782. "No sermon" occurs many times in 
1784, and during the several years given to him between 
that and 1792, when he died, there is an increasing number 
of times when the church is vacant on Sunday. In 1785, 
there are sixteen Sundays on which there are no services ; 
in 1786, twenty-two Sundays, and so on, till the year 1791, 
when there are thirty-one Sundays on which there is no 
service. No doubt, both people and Presbytery were kind 
and sympathetic, and the inquisitorial " schedule " had not 
yet been invented, and ministers were still supposed to have 
some remnant of personal interest left in their spiritual 
work. So good and godly David Scott (for not even 
ministers were " pious " or " holy " in those days, but just 
" gude and godlie ") was permitted to descend to the grave 


in peace, not even " visitations of presbytery " breaking in 
upon his calm, nor " committees of inquiry " harassing with 
obtrusive interrogations his solemn walk through the valley 
of the shadow. 

It might be permitted to us to reflect here that just as 
nations are often more deeply touched by the lingering 
dying of its great ones, than by all the renowned deeds 
which they have done during their career, so parishes may 
sometimes reap deeper spiritual fruit from the passing away 
before their eyes of their minister, through clouded days and 
years, than from all the services he has ever conducted in 
church. ■ The old man is nowadays shunted into respectable 
invisibility, in order that the clapper and happer of the 
mill of sermons and services may continue under the 
" assistant and successor," the " powers that be " being 
oblivious to the fact, that the pensive setting sun may have 
as fruitful an effect in "deepening the spiritual life of the 
people " as when he rises in his strength, and that the old 
Samuels may prove as potent influences for good to their 
people as the valiant and youthful Davids. 

When our minister was laid to rest in the days of April 
1792 — he having died on the i6th of that month — he was in 
his 82nd year, and the 40th of his ministry. He married, 
4th March 1772, Elizabeth Borthwick, who died 30th August 

Thomas Murray — 1793- 1808 

Thomas Murray, successor to David Scott, was the son 
of Adam Murray, minister at Eccles, and was born 31st 
May 1759, a few months later than the poet Burns. On 
the 4th of November 1783, he was appointed a teacher in 
George Heriot's Hospital, Edinburgh ; but his ambition 


carried him higher, and having equipped himself for the 
ministry, he was duly licensed to preach the gospel on the 
27th of May 1784, by the Presbytery of Chirnside. He was 
ordained by the same court on the 2nd of September follow- 
ing ("2nd February 1785," say the Earlston Records), as 
minister of the Presbyterian dissenting congregation at 
Wooler. After labouring there for five years, he became 
assistant to James Scott, minister in Perth, in July 1789. 
From there he came to Channelkirk, having been presented 
by Hugh, Earl of Marchmont, the patron, on the i8th of 
August 1792. On 26th December of the same year, " Rev. 
Thomas Murray's call moderate " ; and on Tuesday, 26th 
February 1793, he was "addmitted minister of the Gospel 
of this parish," * He was thirty-four years of age when he 
came to Channelkirk, and at his admission he had alive three 
children, viz., Adam, born 27th June 1783, and two daughters, 
twins, Anne and Jean, born 6th May 1785. Adam became 
a merchant in Greenock. 

After looking round his new dwelling, he craves the 
heritors in May to cure the manse kitchen of smoke, build 
a porch over the door (which then looked southwards 
towards the church), putty and paint all the manse windows, 
shelve closets and repair locks, beamfill the garret, put a 
surbase round the rooms, lay the barn floor, make new stalls 
in the stable " heck and manger," and loft part of the same. 
He also wants a dyke built round gardens and churchyard, 
five feet high, stone and lime, a pine dyke and gate betwixt 
the manse and the stable, and, last but not least, a new 
pulpit. All these must have been in the last stage of 
disgrace, for they were all granted. 

Mr Murray is yet remembered by one at least of our 
* Kirk Records. 


paf ishioners as a strong, powerful man, with whom it would 
have been dangerous to differ! Our good old informant, 
Thomas Scott, still pulling his " lirigels " at eighty-four years 
of age in Oxton, relates that one day in the churchyard, a 
" throwch " * was being laid over a tomb. This species of 
stone is laid flat and foursquare over the entire grave. The 
Rev. Mr Murray stood looking on, but the "hands" being 
few, he assisted in lifting the heavy stone into its position. 
This he did, balancing the others in lifting, the rest of the 
men being at one side, and he alone at the other. This deed 
of strength was long commented on. 

He had occasion to show his strength in other. ways. In 
the year 1797, on the 7th November, at a Presbytery meeting 
held in Lauder, " Mr Murray represented to the Presbytery 
that.Dr Foord (minister at Lauder) came into his parish 
and dispensed the sacrament of baptism without his per- 
mission, and this being expressly contrary to the established 
laws of this Church, the Presbytery appointed the moderator 
to rebuke Dr Foord for said conduct, and which being done 
accordingly, it was enjoined to be more attentive to the laws 
of the Church in all time coming." An offence like this is 
committed in our days with every freedom, the boundaries 
of a parish being practically imaginary, but in these days 
the minister tolerated no intrusion upon his special pastorate, 
and Dr Ford, at the bar of his Presbytery, and rebuked, 
as it were, on his own hearth-stone, had occasion to reflect 
upon it ! 

Mr Murray seems to have had a gifted sense of detecting 
heresy as well as the ability to administer chastisement to 
over-zealous brethren. Indeed, he held the reins of spiritual 

* A throwch or thruch differs from a table-stone in lying flat on the 
ground without supporting pedestals. . 


supervision more strictly than perhaps would now be tolerated 
in the minister. He tells an offender bluntly that he is 
unguarded in his speech, " especially when he got the worse 
of liquor " ; a state of matters which might easily happen. 
Some members of his congregation do not walk with 
sufficient propriety, and this is how he deals with them : 
"2 1st January 1798, the which day the session being met 
(in the church) and constituted, Mr Murray represented to 
the members of the session that several individuals of the 
congregation had totally absented themselves for many 
months past from public worship without assigning any 
reason for such improper conduct, and that on a late 
occasion the following persons, Mr Somerville of Airhouse, 
Mr Bertram of Hartsyde, Mr Douglas of Kirktonhill, and 
Mr David TurnbuU in Upton, after attending a funeral to 
the churchyard of Channelkirk, at the very hour of public 
worship, instead of entering the church, did, in the face of 
the congregation, turn their back upon it, and retire to 
Airhouse. The session are unanimously of opinion that 
such conduct was highly indecent and scandalous, and that 
the individuals above-mentioned are not entitled to sealing 
ordinances in this society till they shall have satisfied the 
session for such improper behaviour. They are also of 
opinion that no person is entitled to sealing ordinances who 
shall absent themselves from public worship for six Sabbaths 
in succession, without offering some reasonable excuse." 

A year passes away and matters do not improve. To 
the above recalcitrants was united the farmer of Carfrae, 
Robert Hogarth, notable in his day. He and Somerville, 
especially, seem to have carried defiance to the utmost. 
For two years they never came to church. Mr Murray 
expostulates, but they appear obdurate, and the case is 


referred to a committee of ministers. They advised the 
Kirk-Session "not to admit them to the Lord's Supper 
unless they should solemnly promise to be regular in their 
attendance on divine worship." Notice of this decision 
was served upon them, but "they did not think proper to 
comply." " In consequence of which Mr Robert Hogarth 
was refused a token by the Session on his personal applica^ 
tion." Somerville did not ask it ! 

Probably these ostentatious stayaways had not approved' 
of Mr Murray's appointment to the parish ! Nine or ten 
years do not lessen, but rather, under certain circumstances, 
increase the rabid virulence which is created at a ministerial 
ordination. Religious rancour is never less deep than the 
place it springs from. But we are inclined to believe that 
Mr Murray acted under a very high sense of a minister's 
duties in such cases, and perhaps did not allow for the 
commonplace in others. The case following bears corrobora- 
tive evidence of this, it appears. It happens on. the 21st 
of April 1799. Charles Dickson, a " bird " in Kelphope, 
is of a religious turn of mind, and like most enthusiasts 
of the kind, spreads his " views " abroad unsparingly. 
He has been thinking of such high matters as the divinity 
of the Trinity, and it is noised over the parish that he is 
a sceptic ! This comes to the ears of the minister and his 
Session, and forthwith Charles, the "bird," is called before 
them to answer to " charges." But when " interrogate con- 
cerning the report that is spread abroad in the neighbour- 
hood of his erroneous principles relating to the divinity of 
the Trinity," Charles denies the rumour and declares himself 
" soond." He is evidently shaking in his shoes, and is eager 
to testify that he " firmly believed the Scriptures to be the 
Word of God, the Eternity of the Trinity, and every other 


part of" the Christian religion as coritaiined in the Larger 
and Shorter Catechism and Confession of Faith," and having 
bolted such a bellyful of theological indigestibles, what could 
the careful and devout Session do but vouch for Charles' 
integrity and good doctrine with all due solemnity ? He 
is dismissed with an ''Absolvo te" and a blessing, and no 
doubt went up Kelphope glen that d^y with some thoughts 
in his head which he did not want every one to know. 
"Learn" him to be a sceptic I 

Another instance of Mr Murray's vigilance. Over in 
Glengelt, in 1803, Robert Anderson, honest man, carrier,^ and 
doing some business that waiy across Soutra to the benefit 
of the parish and for his own profit doubtless, encroaches 
on Sunday hours to a perilous degree, and must be hauled 
up and cautioned. Therefore, " Robert Anderson, tennant 
in New Channelkirk, compeared, and being interrogate by 
the Modr. (Mr Murray), whether it was true or not (as 
reported), that the waggons with which he was connected 
come or returned from his place on the Sabbath mornings 
or evenings, he answered that they had done so sometimes 
(although not intended) by the driver's mismanagement or 
drunkenness or other accidents, but in time coming he 
should take better care," etc., etc. "The Session desired 
him, and the" company with which he was connected, to take 
better Care and not encroach upon the Sabbath in time to 
come, or then they- would recommend their conduct to the 
civil law, and also deprive him of church privileges ! " 
Truly, there were authorities in Channelkirk in those days. 
Condemned to be cut off by Kirk and State for breaking the 
stillness of the Lammermoors by a rumbling of waggons on- 
a Sunday morning ! 

Mr Anderson was the first to start a waggon to carry 


goods over Soutra (it was four-wheeled and was 'drawn by 
two horses), and was succeeded by James Turnbull, Carfrae 
milt, who, however, ran four coaches between Edinburgh 
and Kelso. The " coach," which was bought up latterly by 
the North British Railway influence, was a great advantage 
to" the district, and was much missed. 

In 1799, Mr Murray acquired a landed interest in the 
parish as well as a spiritual one, Heriotshall became his 
property on the 13th July of that year.* He held it to 1807, 
when it was put under trustees. Another year saw him 
numbered with the dead. He died in Edinburgh on the 
26th October i8o8.t He was for fifteen years minister 
at Channelkirk. 

Robust in body, he was also robust and aggressive in 
mind. During the whole time of his incumbency he may 
be said to have been at constant legal war with his heritors. 
He had many disputes with them in reference to his stipend. 
In 1793, he raised a process of augmentation and locality ; 
and on the 20th May 1795 obtained an augmentation of 
three chalders of victual. But several heritors felt aggrieved 
at the allocation and went to law with him. It seems that 
there was a deficiency of teinds to answer the augmentation 
which caused some irritation, and to better the case foi* 
himself he raised, in 1807, a process of reduction of valuations 
against the Titular and nearly all of the heritors. He died 
before he had made much progress with the caSe. 

While careful of the ministerial interests "of Channelkirk, 
which must have cost him more than he ever gained, a:nd for 
which one, at" least, of his successors is grateful, he kept' an 
eye upon the good of others. He called for more help to 

* Heritors' Records. 

t Kirk Records (Presb. Records say, 39th October i 


the poor in the year 1795, and obtained it, and he gives as 
his reason for asking an increase to them, that it was a 
"time of scarcity" when provisions were very high. The 
state of the poor had again specially to be considered in 
1 800, " when the prices of meal of all kinds were so high." 
It may be noted that in 1800, the farmers of the parish 
were : — 

Robert Hogarth, Carfrae. 

Archibald Somerville, Hillhouse. 

Wm. Bertram, Hartside. 

Alexander Iddington, Over Howden. 

Richard Dickson, Over Bowerhouse. 

George Lyall, Mountmill. 

John Moffat, Threeburnford. 

William Murray, Ugston Shotts. 

Edmund Bertram, Hazeldean. 

James Mitchell, Old (? New) Channelkirk. 

Thomas M'Dougal, Grassmyres. 

Peter Anderson, Ugston. 

George Thomson, Old Channelkirk, 

Walter Chisholm, Waislawmill. 

Andrew Lees, Incoming Tenant, Mountmill. 

Messer, Nether Howden. 

The farms of Airhouse, Kirktonhill, Justicehall, and Collielaw 
were farmed by their owners, or a steward. Glengelt was no 
longer styled a farm. 

Mr Murray also wrote the Old Statistical Account of the 
parish in 1794. Among his papers, some of which are still 
preserved in the Teind Office, Edinburgh, and which were 
used in the stipend cases, there is a letter from Sir John 
Sinclair regarding the Statistical Account of Scotland of 
which he was the originator, which may be interesting to 
some : — 

" Sir John Sinclair presents compliments to Mr Murray. 
— Is obliged to return to London immediately in order to 


set the proposed Board of Agriculture agoing, but cannot 
leave Edinburgh without acknowledging the receipt of his 
obliging Statistical Account of the Parish of Eccles, which 
shall be immediately printed." There is no date, and the 
letter is on a torn leaf which had been sealed. Probably 
this note was sent to Mr Murray's father, Adam, who wrote 
the Eccles parish part of the Old Statistical Account. No 
doubt it was highly esteemed and had been entrusted to the 
keeping of the minister of Channelkirk by his father. 



Rev. John Brown— Characteristics — Stipend Troubles — Odious to 
Heritors — Litigation — Deficiencies in the Manse — Parsimony and 
Law-cases — Glebe Worries — Church Ruinous — Refuses to Preach — 
Church Courts — New Church — Muscular Christianity — Behaviour in 
Church — His Death— Rev. James Rutherford — Character— In- 
genious and Injudicial — Records — Assistants — Portrait — Rev. 
James Walker — Parish and Presbytery Complications — Testimony 
of the Records— Resignation and Emigration — Rev. Joseph Lowe 
— Student, Assistant, and Minister — Church Declension — Re- 

John Brown — 1809- 1828 

If there was any characteristic of the warrior about Mr 
Murray, the predominant feature in his successor, the Rev. 
John Brown, seems to have been pugiHstic. He is principally 
remembered in the parish as a muscular Christian. A broad, 
dry grin always precedes any reference to him by the 
" originals." And all his taliant heroics are neither dimmed 
nor diminished in their narrations, for his "specialities" were 
j'ust of such a kind as could attain to immortality in " kirns," 
and Saturday night confabs at small " pubs " and rural social 
gatherings. The minister voluntarily divesting himself of 
his reverend habits, and clad in the garb of politician, prize- 
fighter, or purveyor of small smut, is a spectacle peculiarly 
detectable to the countryman, and his reverence never fails 
to achieve distinction of a certain kind when he chooses to 


so play gladiator to the mob. But we should give a False 
impression of the local estimate of Mr Brown were we to 
regard him solely from this point of view. The people 
remember many of his kind deeds and never forget them 
in their " sequels," and he redeems himself amply in their 
respect in that he fought a victorious battle with the heritors. 
He is a "character," in short, with the parishioners, and 
although not regarded as by any means the chief corner- 
stone in the Channelkirk temple, yet neither would they 
judge him the meanest, and perhaps he may best be con- 
sidered as an ecclesiastical conglomerate, a sort of pudding- 
stone-character made up of dirt and diamonds. 

It is recorded that John Brown was ordained by the 
Presbytery of Edinburgh on the 9th of November, following 
upon the death of Mr Murray, as minister of the Low Meet- 
ing, Berwick-on-Tweed. He was afterwards presented to 
Channelkirk Church by John Wauchope, Esq., trustee on 
the Marchmont estate, in April of 1809. The Kirk Records 
have these items : " 1809, 13 June, Tues. — The call moderate 
for the Revd. Jn. Brown " ; and, " 26 July, Wednesday — The 
Revd. J n. Brown settled minister." 

He was scarcely two years minister in Channelkirk when 
he found himself up to the ears in litigation. Mr Murray, as 
we have seen, had many disputes with the heritors, and died 
while one was in course of process. Mr Brown, on the 3rd 
April 181 1, brought a wakening of this process of reduction, 
accompanied with a transference against the heirs of some of 
the defenders, as also a new process of, augmentation and 
locality ; and life for him, while life lasted (and it lasted till 
1828), was henceforth clouded over by the stern atmosphere 
of the law courts. What a curious record is the life of some 
ministers ! Stress and battle to get to college ; struggle and 


semi-starvation while there ; anxiety and desperation to get 
into a parish ; misery and misunderstanding while in it ; a 
scrimp living, and forced to employ all the power of law to 
make that living decent ; and then death, and, of course, deifi- 
cation ! For it is only after death that he gets all his 
honours and all the praise. Such are the lurid horizons of 
many an incumbent's career. Mr Brown was undoubtedly 
blessed with a skin fittingly thick enough for his fate. For if 
God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb. He also gives 
leviathan his neck of strength and heart of stone. 

From the beginning, he was naturally regarded as an 
odious person by the heritors. Why he should not continue 
to starve respectably, as did the other ministers before him, the 
heritors could not understand ; even though it was an era of 
high prices for all the necessaries of life, and the provision 
he claimed was only his own which had been unjustly 
ravished from the church patrimony by their ancestors. 
They accused him, in the course of the law processes, of low 
sneaking, and ungentlemanly and unchristian conduct. The 
most noble and the right honourables, as well as the notables 
and respectables among them, as much as said in open court 
that he had cheated them, and asked my Lords to undo his 
doings and give them justice ! * My Lords did not see it, 
however, and gravely " adhered to their former interlocutor," 
etc., not having their judgment warped by £, s. d., which warps 
the very noblest of minds now and then. But, in truth, we 
cannot think that such despicable work comes initially from 
the heritors themselves. If ministers could always find it 
possible to deal with them personally, we are convinced that 
there would be fewer law cases, and more pleasantness 
between the manor and the manse. 

* Decreet of Locality. 


It would seem that Mr Brown had some cause to be 
displeased. The sources of his sorrows were many. He 
had irritations with his manse. Smoke and damp reigned 
there supreme, notwithstanding that in 1803 the "kitchen 
vent was warranted . big enough to allow any sweep to go 
up and clean it." The Water supply at the manse was also 
wretched, and the usual unsatisfactory " well " annoyed 
him, and when a supply was attempted from the hill above 
it, the operations were carried on in the cheeseparing way 
that means penny, wise and pound foolish. Worry came 
to him also from his glebe, his church, as well as from his 
stipend law cases. He wished the manse repaired and 
enlarged. It was "built thirty years ago," he said, and 
thirty years at Channelkirk test the best stone -and -lime 
structures. By that time, 18 14, Brown declares the manse 
" totally uninhabitable." 

Meantime larger questions loomed up in connection 
with the church, and the manse and offices remained on a 
shaky basis, with the exception of some temporary patches 
to tide over heavier outlay. There is a reported case about 
the manse, i8th June 1818 : 13 S., 1018, Shields v. Heritors 
of Channelkirk, in which the Court decided against authoris- 
ing additions merely on account of deficiency in size. The 
ground was that the manse had been recently erected and 
in good repair, or only required repairs to a trifling extent.* 

When 1820 comes. Brown's continued clashings with his 
heritors have rendered him stubborn and intractable. They 
actually wish now to repair the manse. They send trades- 
men to the manse for this purpose, but he refuses to let 
them into his house. Doubtless he expected the usual 
handful of lime, and a door handle here and there, and 
* Reports in Signet Library, Edinburgh. 


nothing adequate to the clear needs of the case. Then the 
heHtors become injured innocents! It is said Mr Brown 
means to let manse and offices go ruinous to further 
injure them. Brown in his ire cannot resist sending an 
inconsiderate "letter" to the heritors. They shall know 
his mind ! In it he expresses the' belief that they have no 
intention of consulting his good at all, but as he puts it, 
" have in view only their own interest and malicious pleasure, 
and are resolved to carry on their defamatory and murderous 
attempts against me and my family . . . until they make 
an end of us." Defiantly he bids them go on ! Evidently 
matters had reached a very bitter pass. Worry from manse, 
glebe, church, c^nd stipend cases had truly maddened him. 
The heritors, with lifted eyebrows, profess astonishment. 
Language so very, very ! They do wish his good : want 
to concur with him : want to repair manse and offices, truly. 
Won't he, then ? He won't. The lion growls in his den, 
defiantly showing his teeth, all of which was extremely 
fooHsh in the gladiatorial John. For an appeal was made 
to the Sheriff, who decided against him ; but he, despising 
small limbs of law, threatens to carry it to the Court of 
Session, the foolish gladiator. The heritors, still with 
uplifted eyebrows, " express surprise that he should persist 
in such an absurd line of conduct," but with crowning 
absurdity on their own part recommend him to get more 
elders for the church, there being only one ! H'm ! Better 
confine themselves to repairs of manses, et hoc genus omne. 
Brown in the end lost £•] on the business. But his in- 
tentions seem all to have been dictated by a desire to have 
things improved and made more respectable. His methods 
in reaching this were, perhaps, not justifiable. For instance, 
he had set his heart on having the ground levelled decently 


around the church. He had asked the heritors to do it. 
They refused ; whereupon the militant minister himself 
orders it to be done, and takes £2, 8s. 4d. out of the 
collections to pay for it. The heritors declare him to have 
" appropriated " this money, and treat with him coldly, afar 
off, as utterly unworthy of their association. 

He derived no more comfort from his glebe than from 
his manse. It lay in two parts, one on the height beside 
the church, the other in the hollow or haugh through which 
Mountmill Burn ("Arras Water") flows. This latter part 
was exposed (as yet it is) to the floods which in winter swept 
over the Hauch. Extensive sand-siltings, accumulations of 
rubbish on the good pasture ground, and broken, drifting 
fences were common occurrences. In 1810, "ring" fences 
were put round the glebe by the heritors, they agreeing on 
14th December of that year to defray the " inconsiderable 
expenses," while the minister and conterminous proprietors 
agreed to uphold the fences. The fence round the low glebe 
was to be made up of a ditch, thorns, and two railings. 
This was not satisfactory, evidently, and four years after- 
wards the heritors '■'order'" the Rev. John Brown to fence the 
Hauch glebe himself Brown thinks rightly that heritors 
cannot " order " him to do anything under the sun, and 
declares them ultra vires, using his shillelah style in de- 
signating them " unhandsome and presumptuous " for 
"ordering" him. But, of course, neither could he order 
them to fence his glebe, there being no decision of law 
on the matter, and his plan was to have asked it as a 
courtesy, or failing any agreeable settlement, to have asked 
the Sheriff to decide who should do it. But the wrangling 
and malfeasance went on, and the glebe question never 
got settled in Brown's time. 



The church, however, the gracious symbol of salvation 
and peace, proved to be the richest reservoir of acrid waters 
to both representatives of Jerusalem and Babylon. If the 
heritors would not drain his manse and improve the amenities 
of the place ; in the name of piety, they should build a new 
church ! This is the Gladiator's resolution. It was on the 
14th November 18 14 that he publicly intimated from the 
pulpit the necessity for rebuilding the church. But a church 
is not a gourd, and cannot grow, just as it cannot die, in a 
night. The heritors for two years took up the attitude of 
waiting, and so the impatient and fire-fetching Elijah inti- 
mated to them on ist November 18 16, that he did not 
" intend to preach any more at Channelkirk, after Sabbath 
first, until the heritors have provided the parish with a new 
church." The disgusted prophet then retires to his desert, 
and sits down under his juniper tree. After preaching on 3rd 
November, he did not resume again until 25th April follow- 
ing. That is, for seven months he " struck work," or rather 
would not strike it. 

But this was imperious conduct, and utterly indefensible. 
The Presbytery " felt much concerned " at his behaviour and 
the discontinuance of preaching. They recommend him to 
" preach from a tent or any other place convenient." Were the 
sheep to starve ? But the heritors found him too good game 
to let slip, and " libelled " him before the Synod for not preach- 
ing, and they had a right to do so. Brown then appeals to the 
Synod, and the Synod refused to sustain the heritors' appeal, 
but thought Brown should have given intimation to his 
Presbytery before taking action. The heritors next take the 
case to the General Assembly, They will hunt him down ! 
But " corbies dinna pick oot corbies een ; " besides, his cause 
had clearly strong recommendations within itself. And the 


Assembly sustained both Synod and Presbytery. Brown cer- 
tainly acted rashly, but the church was decidedly a " ruin," 
and he believed himself in danger of his life in preaching 
in it. The heritors knew this perfectly, yet took no action. 
Nay, they sneered at the matter unbecomingly, for after 
examination they declare " the church in as good a state 
of repair and comfort as it has been for several years past, 
and can see no reason why Mr Brown shouldn't preach 
as usual." The more disgraceful it was of them to say so, 
when, according to the testimony of two authorities called in 
from Edinburgh, the "state of repair and comfort" was as 
follows : — " The south wall is considerably rent and twisted, 
and the under part of the walls all round is very much decayed 
owing to the damp occasioned by the floor of the church 
being so much sunk below the general surface of the church- 
yard — an evil which we consider cannot be remedied, and 
renders the house totally unfit for a place of worship. The 
timbers of the roof appear pretty fresh, but the slating, 
particularly on the north side, is very much decayed. The 
seating of the church, with the exception of the east loft and 
one seat at the west-end, is in a ruinous and uninhabitable 

The opinion of the parish was no less emphatic. When 
the agitation grew strong for a new church the entire parish 
petitioned to have it built, not on the present site, but nearer 
Oxton. In the petition to the Presbytery they say, *' That 
the Parish Church of Channelkirk has been these many 
years a very cold, damp, and unpleasant house for a place 
of worship," and, moreover, " for several months during winter 
it may justly be said to be altogether inaccessible even to 
men in the vigour of life." 

Mr Brown's demand, therefore, for a new church, was 


clearly reasonable, and he was only doing his duty in seeking 
the welfare of his parishioners. But while his motive was 
good, his method was incommendable and extreme. The 
heritors, all the same, have our deepest gratitude in this 
place for not removing the church from its present historical 
site. For they did build a new church (the present one), and 
certainly they did not deal shabbily with it. In size, style, 
and comfort it will stand comparison, all things considered, 
with most country churches on the Borders. In the Kirk 
Records it is said: — " 1818, February 15th, Sabbath. — This 
day the new church was opened ; collected 1 3 shill. 7 pennies, 
and 6 farthings." Surely peace and amity would then reign 
between manse and manor? Nay, verily. The old virus, 
unhappily, lived on in their veins, and one notes with regret 
that " the heritors have omitted to line the wall forming the 
back of the pulpit with wood like the rest of the Churchy nor 
lathed it under the plaster to defend the seat from wet and 
damp, and so it is rendered uncomfortable and even unsafe for 
the minister to occupy." The Presbytery so delivers itself on 
inspection. The exception made of the pulpit is suspicious. 
But it was remedied, and there it ended. The heritors never 
let a chance pass afterwards of sending a shot the parson's 
way. Next year they recommend to Mr Brown " not to put 
horses, cows, or asses into the churchyard." 

There is reason to believe that the minister was rather 
an ugly customer to tackle on any ground. His forte was 
fighting, and as there is a kind of man in all parishes who 
is incapable of understanding any reason except the one 
impressed by the closed fist, he was not loath to grant this 
advantage to any one who required it when occasion suited. 
It was a reversion to Jewish or Davidic methods, doubtless, 
and Mr Brown may have blessed God with the Psalmist that 


" He teacheth my hands to war and my fingers to fight." 
Whether he advanced the high spiritual principles of his 
Master in his parish by such practices is another matter. 
But the fact itself is too well authenticated to be " ex- 
plained away." The consequence followed, however, that an 
aggressive attitude on his part provoked resistance on the 
part of others, and it soon became a talk in the district, 
" Whay wis yible for the menister, an' whay wisna ! " There 
is a fearful story told of a meeting of heritors and elders 
which took place in a bibulous locality where the minister, 
or rather John Brown, was one of the company. Like those 
heavenly bodies which travel at such high speed that they 
fire up to explosion point on entering the air, and scatter 
their fragments over space, so this heterogeneous com- 
pany soon found the atmosphere too intensely frictional 
and explosive, and found itself blasted out of the inn on to 
the high-road, each constituent member, " by some cantrip 
slicht," flourishing a table or chair leg, to the utter ruin 
all round of ribs, hats, and heads. When the air cleared, 
the landlady was discovered weeping over her broken 
furniture and shattered crockery. So runs the tradition. 
It is pathetically added that the elder, Thomas Waddel, 
and the minister, stood " shouther to shouther " in the battle. 

These characteristics sometimes reflected themselves in 
the minister's pulpit manner, we are told, if we care to 
entertain such things. One day, while preaching, the gallery 
was unusually obstreperous, and he had frequently to pause 
and cast warning glances in that direction. This having no 
effect, he singled out the most offensive gentleman and told 
him bluntly that if he came up to him he " wad pu' the flipe 
ower his nose ! " We do not know how to extenuate such 
pulpit eloquence, except by supposing that Mr Brown, having 


long studied the matter, had concluded that he had as good 
a right to " flipe " noses as Saint Peter had to not only 
"flipe" but slice off ears in vindicating the Master's cause. 
Ecclesiastical views are apt to vary widely. 

The new church was opened barely three months when 
the windows were blown in ! The superstitious saw in this 
the cloven hoof of him who, on the strong wind flying, " tirls 
the kirks." The sagacious merely remarked that " the 
putty wasna hard yet." 

We are told that the foundations of the old church are 
still to be seen underneath the floor of the present church, 
which is the same that was built in Mr Brown's time. The 
plan was cruciform. The sundial in the south wall, and 
the cross on the top of the east gable, are remnants of the 
old edifice. The cross is chipped in one of its arms as the 
result of a fall which occurred in recent times, owing to 
having been fastened by wooden instead of, as now, by iron 
bolts. The old gallery was so low that once at a baptism in 
church, a father, when about to "tak' the vows," stepped 
over the front and slid down instead of going round by the 
stair. So true is it, that when the shepherd ventures outside 
the bounds of respect and decorum, the sheep soon learn to 

It might be an easy task to multiply instances of this state 
of matters in the parish in the "teens" and "twenties" of 
this century. Our object is gained when a correct conception 
of the minister and the man John Brown is obtained, 
together with a view of the manners of his time and people. 
It must not be supposed that he was lacking in kindness and 
amiability. Men who can give the hardest knocks have often 
the tenderest of hearts. One noble action yet stands out 
distinctly in the parish memory. The seasons had been 


hard ones for farmers, and they fell with double severity 
upon the weaker men of that time. He learned that they 
had no seed to sow their crops, having been forced to sell 
out everything to pay their debts. The minister came to 
the rescue with the grain from his glebe, and for three years 
assisted them gratis in this way till better seasons rewarded 
them. It gives us great pleasure to record this. 

He was not always in good health, although he had a 
character for robustness. In 1822, he writes from " Mrs 
Cowans, 12 Queen Street, Edinburgh," on the 15th April, 
to the chief trustee for Kirktonhill, who was resident in 
Edinburgh, enclosing his stipend account for crop 1821. 
He says he " is in bad health and needing money greatly." 
We think it no wonder. His lawsuits must have been a 
terrible drain on his small exchequer. Yet he seems to 
have preserved fairly good health till the year 1827, when 
on thirty Sundays there was no service in church. He died 
on Sunday, 15th June 1828, aged 59, and was buried in 
Channelkirk Churchyard on the 20th of that month. A 
small plain headstone memorialises the place where he lies. 
He was born in 1769, and was thus 40 years of age when 
he was presented to Channelkirk. He was a minister for 
twenty-five years, and nearly twenty of these he spent in 
this parish. He was married to Philis Moscrop, and on 
5th May 1 81 5, mention is made of his having "a wife and 
child." After his death 'Mrs Brown communicated with the 
Earlston Presbytery to get from the fund of the Association 
of Dissenting Ministers in the North of England, of which 
Association her husband was for many years a member, 
some help of a pecuniary kind by paying up his arrears. 
She got, through the Moderator, a " decidedly unfavourable " 
answer. This "Association" seems to have been purely a 


voluntary one, and was not in connection with the national 
churches of either England or Scotland. 

In consequence, we suppose, of the lack of respect for the 
ordinances of religion in the parish, Mr Brown had great 
difficulty in obtaining elders. For many years one only stood 
with him,and in the four years immediately preceding his death 
all had forsaken him. This is made evident by the minute 
which introduces us to his successor, James Rutherford. 

James Rutherford — 1828- 1862. 

" Channelkirk, 27th December 1829. — In consequence of 
the want of elders in this parish for a number of years, the 
duties connected with that office have not been regularly 
performed. To remedy this defect the Rev. James Ruther- 
ford, minister, from the pulpit, requested the congregation 
to select four or five persons whom they might think qualified 
for that office." * 

Mr Rutherford found the ecclesiastical machinery some- 
what rusty, and quietly, as was his manner, set to work 
to improve it. He was translated from the Presbyterian 
congregation at Whitby, Yorkshire, to Channelkirk, and 
preached for the first time in the latter place on the 26th 
of October 1828. He had been duly licensed by the 
Presbytery of Dunse on 31st May 1816, and ordained 
minister at Whitby by the Presbytery of Kelso, 14th March 
1820. He was presented to Channelkirk charge by the 
patron, Sir William Purves Hume Campbell, Bart, of March- 
mont, and was admitted i6th December 1828. He was 
" under 40 " at the time, and had married Margaret Clark on 
the 20th December 1 827, that is, twelve months previous to 
his translation. She died 30th June 1837, just ten days after 

* Kirk Records. 


Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen began her memorable 

Mr Rutherford's incumbency of thirty-four years in 
Channelkirk is marked by a quiet, inoffensive grace of Hfe, 
and a suave disposition towards all around him. He is 
remembered as a man who shrank from publicity in every 
form, and was rather shy than otherwise in the social 
relationships of the parish. He was often observed to turn 
in his walks and divert his route if a person or cart were 
seen coming towards him. He was accustomed to spend 
his forenoons in the church alone ; the extreme silence of 
the place being more to his taste than the domiciliary bustle 
of the manse. He is also reported to have been in possession 
of some wealth, and this consideration, joined with an easy 
benevolent temperament, brought him frequently under the 
guileful ways of the wily mendicant. Certain babies in the 
parish took sick ; an aged mother, living at a distance, had 
just died, and funds were required to bury her ; and such like 
stories were floated over him with the usual loquacious in- 
cantations ; and they were never known to disappoint the 
needy one, although, it is said, Mr Rutherford subsequently 
found out, in most instances, that the special distress had 
been entirely imaginary. Doubtless he acted on the 
principle that to be charitable to all is the only true method 
of relieving the wants of the few genuine poor. This is the 
mode which is stigmatised as " indiscriminate," but it is also 
the lavish way of nature, which, to effect her end, often 
showers thousands of seeds abroad to accomplish one good 
plant. Mr Rutherford is yet remembered as gentlemanly in 
all his ways, and a man of wide reading and scholarly 

A milder friendship between minister and heritors ob- 


tained during Mr Rutherford's day than was wont in former 
years. It is pleasing to note the change. The Nathaniel- 
like disposition of the man comes out sharply in a proposi- 
tion which he laid before them on the 13th March 1829, 
although the astuteness of the lawyer is clearly absent 
in him. He had apparently ruminated long on the causes 
of dispute between the manor and the manse, and to put 
an end to any possibility of such disagreeables arising in 
his own experience, had devised a plan of peace, and laid 
it on the table for their consideration. He proposed that 
they, the heritors, should give him the slump sum of ^270, 
and he, in turn, would execute whatever repairs and 
additions on the manse, offices, garden and glebe might be 
required, and take upon himself all further expense in these 
matters during his incumbency. This testified a magnani- 
mous spirit truly, but it was not " business." For suppose 
the heritors had closed with the bargain and had handed 
him the ;^270. Suppose that in the following week Mr 
Rutherford had died ! The money was then lost to the 
heritors, and the next incumbent would have demanded his 
rights from them also in due process, and thus double 
expense would have fallen upon them. They, therefore, 
could not accept his scheme of peace. But he had proved 
himself the possessor of a right and kindly mind. This 
comes out again fifteen years later, when, in 1846, he pro- 
vided at his private cost the materials for rough-casting 
the manse, while the heritors had only the expense of the 
labour to meet. Only a minister " with means," — a rare 
thing among Scotch ministers — could cultivate such generous 
habits. But by such means all friction ceased between 
the two interests, and during the whole of his ministry 
we do not find that anything except harmony prevailed. 


Would that the same record had existed both before and 
after his period. 

A few items are chronicled in the Kirk Records which 
wear the complexion of his day. It is noted, for example, 
that a national fast was proclaimed for 22nd March 1832, 
on account of the fearful visitation of cholera during that 
year. The same thing for the same reason takes place 
on the 8th November 1849. The "Disruption of 1843" 
cost him an elder and the parish a schoolmaster with the 
secession of Mr Dodds. A national fast is held again in 
1847, 24th March, on account of the "Famine in Ireland." 
Such matters as an eclipse of the sun, 15th May 1836, and 
great snowstorms in 1852 and 1859, are faithfully noted. 

Mr Rutherford was not a robust man, and on the 3rd 
December 1844 we find him obtaining leave from the 
Presbytery to have an "assistant and successor." His son, 
Cornelius, born 22nd April 1830, also weighed upon his 
spirits, as on 5th December 1843 he requests leave of absence 
from his charge for two months on account of the ill-health 
of this only son, then residing in England. In 1850 Mr 
Rutherford " is still in poor health and unable for all the 
duties," and again obtains leave of absence. But he does 
not seem to have actually had an assistant till 1851, when 
John Archibald Dow is found in that position. Mr Dow's 
successor as assistant, now the genial and lovable minister 
of Maxton, the Rev. Manners Hamilton Nisbet Grahame, 
came to Channelkirk in 1854, but only stayed a few months, 
as Archibald Brown, now Minister Emeritus of Legerwood, 
took over the work from him in December of the same 
year. James Forbes, now minister of Cults, Fife, succeeded 
Mr Brown in 1858. Mr Peter Christie, now the esteemed 
minister of Abbey St Bathans, succeeded Mr Forbes in 


1 86 1, and Mr Rutherford found his last assistant in the Good 
Shepherd Himself, who led His servant " doon the dead- 
mirk-dale " on the 2nd day of August 1862. 

A portrait in oil of Mr Rutherford hangs in the session- 
house of Stow Parish Church, access to which can be readily 
obtained by any one interested. The brief notice of the 
parish incorporated in the New Statistical Account^ ii., is 
from his pen. 

James Walker — 1862-1885. 

The Rev. James Walker's career as a minister in Channel- 
kirk appears to have been a chequered one. At the death of 
Mr Rutherford the parish seems to have been lapped in 
profound repose, the people, the heritors, and the minister 
enjoying a common peace, each pursuing the routine of daily 
duty in mutual harmony and esteem. Mr Walker was 
doomed to unhappier experiences. During his time the 
little parish became a boiling cauldron. Presbytery, minister, 
teacher, heritors, elders, beadle, precentor, and the general 
populace became involved in melancholy complications ; and 
heart-burnings such as require generations to neutralise and 
eliminate were engendered. Everywhere there is evidence, 
during the period between 1862 and 1885, of distraction at 
the heart of things. The Records of the General Assembly, 
Earlston Presbytery, and the parish of Channelkirk, are 
dibbled full of such expressions as " difference of opinion," 
"committee appointed to inquire," "injunction," "explana- 
tions," "fama," " famae," "scandalous conduct," "libel," 
" elders' petition," " beadle's petition," " intoxication," " deep 
sorrow," " no Sacrament held," " cautioned by Synod," and 
such like. Even after the lapse of a decade of years there 
appear again, like the haunting underground tones of the 


ghost in Hamlet, the expressions, " fama," " Hbel," " allega- 
tions of insanity," and much more, which sufficiently indicate 
the kind of acid element in which, for so long, the ecclesi- 
astical affairs of Lauderdale continued to float. And when 
such terms are found in all the precise legality of recorded 
statements, it would be surprising if more ample definitions 
and stronger flavours were proved absent in the sententious 
narratives of the general public. As a matter of fact, gossip 
on this topic usually grows grey with the travail of elucida- 
tion, and the extemporised colloquial stage soon becomes 
crowded with thrilling incidents and exciting situations, and 
dramatis personcs too bewilderingly numerous to individu- 

Mr Walker was presented to the charge of Channelkirk 
by the patron, Sir Hugh H. Campbell of Marchmont, on the 
22nd September 1862. He had been previously licensed on 
the loth June of the same year by Dunse Presbytery. The 
call was signed by one elder and twenty others. He was 
ordained by Earlston Presbytery on the 27th November 
1862. He married on 24th April 1867, and had issue. He 
resigned the charge on nth December 1884, and Channel- 
kirk was declared vacant 6th January 1885. He and his 
family emigrated to Vancouver, British Columbia. 

The occasion of the departure from the manse was made 
memorable by the burning of that building, which in some 
mysterious manner caught fire and was wholly destroyed. 
The silver Communion Cups were lost in this catastrophe, 
and no trace of even the melted silver was ever discovered. 
The present pewter ones took their place, but there is no 
reason why some generous lover of the church of St Cuthbert 
should not replace them with others worthy of the services of 
the house of God. The donation would help to modify in 


some measure the terrible details of a sad chapter in its 
history. It was during this incumbency that cards were 
substituted for the tokens dated 1822. Older tokens were 
plentiful, it is said, but were relegated to the strawhouse, 
where they got lost. 

Joseph Lowe— 1885-1891. 

We understand that Mr Lowe was born in 1849 in the 
parish of Lundie, a few miles north-west of Dundee, where 
his father was " minister's man." The family removed to 
Balmerino, where his father, a most respectable and in- 
telligent workman, acted in the same capacity for fourteen 
years under the Rev, Dr James Campbell. The future 
minister of Channelkirk learned there in his youth the trade 
of a joiner, and having the ministry in view, must have 
worked hard and also learned to " scorn delights and live 
laborious days." He matriculated as a " bejant " in St 
Andrews University for the session 187 1-2, taking the two 
classes, English and First Mathematics. He then spelt his 
name " Low." He entered St Mary's Divinity Hall there in 
the winter of 1875-6, at the age of 26, and passed through 
the usual three years' curriculum. He was licensed by the 
Presbytery of Dundee on the 3rd July 1878, as a preacher 
of the Gospel. Principal Tulloch, of St Andrews, was instru- 
mental in obtaining for him an assistantship in West Church, 
Perth, under the learned and distinguished scholar, the Rev. 
Dr Milne. He afterwards began a mission in Loanhead 
under the Rev. Mr Burdon, and made the nucleus of the 
church there which is now served by the Rev. Alexander 
Stewart. He left Loanhead to be assistant to the Rev. John 
Milne, Greenside, Edinburgh, and subsequently acted in a 


similar capacity to the Very Rev. Dr James Macgregor, of 
St Cuthbert's. 

Mr Lowe was one of four candidates who preached for 
the vacant charge at Channelkirk, and the system of 
patronage having been abolished, he became the choice 
of the congregation as minister on 6th April 1885, the 
call being signed on that date by seventy-four members 
of the church. He was ordained to the church and parish 
on the 7th of May of the same year. 

The Presbytery Records show a strange declension 
in the church membership during his ministry. In 1887 
there were 181 names on the Communion Roll; in 1889, 
162; in 1890, 146; in 1891, when he resigned, 142. The 
number of members who communicated in June 1885, the 
first year of his ministry, was 112. In May 1891, his last 
year, 43 only communicated. He resigned his charge on 
the 22nd June of that year by letter sent from Edinburgh, 
where he resided, to the Moderator of Earlston Presbytery, 
in which he says, " I am sorry that through continued in- 
disposition I do not expect to be at the meeting, but I 
hope there will be no injustice done to my case on that 

His resignation was in due time accepted, and the church 
declared vacant on the 12th July 1891. 



Elders since 1650 — Beadles since 1654 — The Mortcloths — Salary — The 
Church — Style of Architecture — Mode of Worship — Kirk Bell 
■ — Rural Religion — Attendances at Church — The Roll — Church 
Patrons — The Churchyard — Consecration — Notable Tombstones — 

The following is as complete a list of Channelkirk elders 
as we have been able to make. The years opposite the 
names are those in which they are first mentioned : — 

1650, William Wight, "elder and deacon." 

„ Adam Somerville, Airhouse, " elder and deacon." 

„ Robert Wight. 

„ Alexander Riddell, Hartside. 
1658. " The minister and four elders." 
1661. James Somervell in Headshaw. 
1664. William Knight, Airhouse. 

„ William Waddel, Ugston. 

1697. Adam Knox. 

„ George Somerville. 

1698. William Brunton. 

1 701. Thomas Brounlies. 
„ George Kemp. 

„ James Waddel. 

„ John Lothian or Loudon. 

„ James Wetherston, Wederston, or Waterston. 

„ James Waddington. 

1702. James Tait. 

1744. James Somervail, Airhouse. 
„ George Somervail, Carfrae, died in Kirktonhill, 1779. 

Not ordained till 
1833, though act- 
ing as elders. 


1744. George Wight. 

„ William Allan. 
1752. William Eckford, Kelphope, died 1764. 
1758. John Borthwick, Crookston. 

„ Alexander Dalziel, Hartside. 

„ Robert Clark, Ougston. 

„ William Renton, Wiselawmiln, died 1787. 

„ James Thomson, Nether Bourhouse. 
1795. Robert Weddal. 

„ Thomas Watson. 

„ John Tait. 
1799. Thomas M'Dougal. 

„ Thomas Waddel (see " Rev. John Brown.") 
18x0. James Watherstone. 
1812. William Cessford, Bowerhouse, died 1824. 
1829. Nichol Dodds, teacher, Ugston. 

„ David Scott, Ugston. 

„ William Cessford, carpenter, Ugston, 
went to America in 1836. 

„ John Gray, tenant, Midburn. 
1836. William Tait, Parkfoot. 

„ Robert Mason, Justicehall (left the parish 1844). 

„ William Gray, Midburn, nephew of above John Gray. 
1845. James Wilson. 

„ Alexander Davidson, teacher, Oxton. 

„ William Forrest. 
1850. Gideon Renwick. 

„ Thomas Darling. 

„ John Renwick. 
1852. James Stevenson. 
1867. David Walkinshaw, farmer, Burnfoot. 

„ James Bathgate, farmer, Bowerhouse. 
1888. William Bell, joiner, Oxton, resigned eldership 9th September 
1896, and died 20th December 1898. 

„ Rowaleyn William Matthewson, merchant, Oxton. 
1893. William Bald, steward, Hartside, died 17th July 1898. 
1898. Thomas Waddel, tailor and clothier, Oxton. 

There are thus fifty-three names of elders who have 
served Channelkirk since 1650. The writer can only speak 
of those whom he has known personally during his in- 



William Bell, joiner in Oxton, was a man of warm 
religious feelings, specially of the " evangelical " or " revival " 
type, and took more than a common interest in the services 
of the church. The writer remembers, with gratitude, the 
help he rendered in inaugurating the new Sunday School, as 
he was the only person who volunteered to do duty in that 
capacity. He was genial and hearty in his manner, and was 
much respected in the community. His attendance at church 
was exemplary, and the day was stormy indeed that pre- 
vented him from occupying his wonted seat. For some 
reason, which he never explained, he resigned his eldership 
on 9th September 1896. He was sensitive and retiring in 
disposition, and deeply resented certain actions of the Kirk- 
session, especially in abolishing the Fast Day, as he con- 
sidered it unjust to the ploughmen in depriving them of a 
holiday. He latterly " lifted his lines " and joined Lauder 
parish church, in which membership he remained till his 
death on 20th December 1898. He died suddenly of palsy. 
He is buried in Channelkirk churchyard. 

William Bald, steward on Hartside farm, became an elder 
in April 1893, and was in all respects a faithful and worthy 
man. He was married and had several of a family. His 
frank and cheery manner made him welcome in every 
society. The sun and the breeze were both in his ways and 
words, and his attention to kirk matters strict and exemplary. 
He became an elder for the sake of the Church and the 
advancement of its work, and steadily to the end he set this 
purpose before him. His connection with the eldership was 
entirely pleasant to all concerned. On the last day in which 
he attended the Lord's Supper, he did so with great effort, 
as the disease which was to carry him away then lay heavily 
upon him. Alone, he served the tables that May day when 


he could scarcely stand, and cold perspiration stood constantly 
on his brow. He did it out of a strong sense of duty to his 
Master and His Church, and the writer has ever regarded the 
act as a deep reproof to the unhelping spirit which pervaded 
the Church at that time, and as a proof that even among 
the humblest there are to be found examples of the purest 
heroism. He was very straightforward and sincere. But 
to us he always appeared at his best at the bedside of the 
sick. His cheery, hearty words were invigorating and 
uplifting, and no woman could nurse another in her dying 
hour with more than his care and tenderness. No man 
was more welcome at the manse, and we hope the day will 
be distant when he is forgotten there. He had a quiet 
fund of native humour which gave his conversation a piquant 
flavour, especially when he recounted the reminiscences 
of his early life, or his experiences at Hartside with the 
"tramps." His kindness to all such was proverbial, and 
the first question a tramp now asks on coming into the 
parish is, " Can yez tell me the way to Hartside ? " In the 
barn, in the stable, somewhere among glorious straw, Mr 
Bald could bestow them for the night, and we have 
heard him say that he never found a thing astray, or dis- 
covered any intention to do any injury on their part. He 
died of leucocythaemia, and was buried in Channelkirk 
Churchyard. The grave is situated on the south side, west 
from the " Somerville " gravestone, but in the centre of the 
ground, between the church and the manse garden wall, a 
memorial stone marks his resting-place, and few deserved 
one better. 

During Mr Bald's last weeks of life, an attempt was 
put forth to obtain as many elders as make at least a 
"quorum." Three are required in any Kirk-session to 


accomplish this, and in our case a Presbytery assessor was 
required to furnish the requisite number. The Rev. William 
Rankin, minister at Legerwood, had always been sent by 
the Presbytery, and now that he also has followed Mr Bald 
" doon the dead-mirk-dale," we mention his name with 
mingled feelings of sorrow and gratitude. Always obliging 
and kind, his company at the manse on these occasions was 
much appreciated, although, without doubt, the presence of 
an assessor from another parish to do work which belongs 
to those within its bounds is an unworthy stain on the 
honour of church members who, while professing to serve 
in the vineyard, say, " I go," but go not. After the usual 
obstacles had been met and subdued, two worthy members, 
Messrs Matthewson and Waddel, both from Oxton, con- 
sented to act as elders, and Mr Bald was delighted at the 
prospect. All the legal steps were fulfilled with a view to 
their admission, but on the day when they stood before the 
congregation as elders of the parish (19th of June 1898), 
Mr Bald was, alas, denied the pleasure of being present to 
give them the right hand of fellowship. He lay in Edin- 
burgh Infirmary looking shortly to be himself promoted to 
the glorious company of elders that surround the throne 
on high ; so that Messrs Matthewson and Waddel entered 
upon office to take up the work which Mr Bald had 
practically laid down, and which Mr Rankin, in his youth 
and in the midst of his good work in Legerwood, was so 
shortly to commit to other hands also. But the men were 
worthy to follow in their footsteps, and we trust it may 
be long ere their place is vacant or their presence missed 
in the church. 

Mr Matthewson, merchant in Oxton, was, perhaps, the 
most obstinate opponent the writer had to his becoming 


minister at Channelkirk. The dicebox of kirk-electioneering 
is often presided over by trick-loving Pucks, and in this case, 
the writer, to his dismay, found himself confronted in the 
contest — what a detestable word to be found in such an 
affair ! — by his college friend, the Rev. R, D. Mackenzie, now 
minister at Kilbarchan. Mr Matthewson was leader of the 
Mackenzie voters. But, with true gentlemanliness, when the 
election was declared against his wishes, he at once laid 
aside all party feeling, and recognised that personal matters 
must yield to higher considerations if the ministry is to 
maintain its high place as a sacred office far above all whims 
and passions. Accordingly, he was chairman at the writer's 
ordination dinner in Carfraemill Hotel (23rd Dec. 1891), and 
no one could have received greater help, or more attention 
in the parish as a stranger, than fell to the lot of the minister 
on entering then upon his duties at Channelkirk. We are 
happy to say that the relationship so formed has never 
changed, and mutual respect has only deepened into mutual 
friendship as the years have passed. 

He has done much good work in the district, and if in 
several ventures he has not achieved all he wished, he has, 
at least, saved the parish from becoming a mere place of 
dreams, and has decidedly improved the pace. For example, 
after meetings and motions innumerable had transpired 
about obtaining a telegraph between Lauder and Oxton, 
and when every one had believed the matter impossible, Mr 
Matthewson still kept it alive, negotiated alone with the 
authorities, put the necessary time and expense into prose- 
cuting it, and the present extension from Lauder to his place 
of business in Oxton is the result. In such an old-world 
district as ours, this progressiveness meets, of course, with 
much solid, though silent, resistance. The townman, as 



Emerson notes, goes with the town clock, but the country- 
man moves only with the law of gravitation, and where 
stobs are laid down opposite hedge-slaps, to be set in their 
place three years afterwards, and subjects of consideration 
can be postponed for a six years' interval, it is not to be 
supposed that Mr Matthewson has found his public spirit 
always a pleasant possession. Too much energy is discom- 
forting to many good folks, and it has been a matter of 
interest to notice how, on several occasions, almost the entire 
parish has been combined against him. No doubt, the com- 
binations have been good-natured ones, as a whole, and we 
believe no one is more highly respected in our district than 
he is. He is characterised by fearless outspokenness, and 
states his opinion of men and things with a vivacity which is 
sometimes disconcerting. This, however, is only his public 
attitude towards all that affects the welfare of the district, for 
in private life he is the most genial of men. He has proved 
himself a true friend of the community. The Church being 
by far the foremost institution in any parish, the true level 
of public spirit of the best kind is marked by men's attitude 
towards it, and their ability to fill its offices. A district is 
rich or poor in proportion to the men it can furnish to 
minister to the highest wants of human nature. Mr 
Matthewson was a parish councillor ; he was for many years 
a member of the School Board ; in all social meetings he 
was, and is, a leader. The Sunday School has received 
yeoman service from him and his family. In these his 
energy is tireless, his services and time given gratuitously 
and cheerfully, and the whole parish is indebted to him for 
his interest and work in them, and the high example he 
shows in all-round helpfulness. 

Thomas Waddel, tailor and clothier in Oxton, was 


ordained an elder on 19th June 1898. He bears a name 
which has been associated with Channelkirk eldership 
through a longer period than any other name in the parish. 
Perhaps, also, it is one which is associated most with that 
ability which in our district has risen higher than mere 
commercial pursuits, and the ploughing of the fields, and 
getting gain. Some of the Waddels are notable artists and 
musicians, some manufacturers, some parish councillors ; all 
are characterised by ' in.tellect ; all have prospered, and all 
are respectable. The Waddels can be known anywhere by 
their massive heads, dome-like foreheads, and large, clear 
eyes. The name is, we believe, the same at root as Wedale, 
the ancient name of an extensive district of the Gala Valley. 
Sometimes spelt Weddell, it is a name often met throughout 
the Borders. 

Mr Waddel is a fine type of the Scottish elder. Calm 
and deliberative in all his ways, cautious in speech and quiet 
in manner, his robust yet erect form and reverential air 
blend very becomingly with the duties that fall to his share 
on Sundays, and more especially on Communion days. 
He is retiring and reserved, and although interested in all 
that affects the parish, politically or otherwise, his voice is 
seldom heard, and is never prominent at any time. He is 
warm-hearted and sympathetic, without fads, and his sunny 
nature gives a touch of humour to his conversation, which is 
very pleasing. Happy the minister that has such elders ! 
We at least think ourselves fortunate, and pray God we may 
be long spared to do His work together, in His Church and 
among His people. 


The Beadles. 

The beadles of a parish are usually men of some 
character, if not men of mark, and in their sphere have to 
be reckoned with both inside and outside of the church. 
They possess as definite and as privileged a place in the 
estimation of the people as do the ministers themselves, 
and, as a rule, they deserve it. Working much alone in 
empty churches and empty graves, their moods take the 
sombre yet thoughtful tone of these places, while familiarity 
with them imparts also a freedom in regard to sacred things, 
which occasionally broadens out into humorous traits of a 
grim, taciturn kind not easily definable. In every case they 
are men apart. Their caste is unique, and the beadle's 
place is sometimes more held in awe than that of the elder 
or the parson. The Channelkirk beadles have, in days 
gone by, well sustained the varied reputation of their 

It is in the year 1654 that we first catch a glimpse of 
David Kool digging away at the graves in Channelkirk 
churchyard, and receiving a small sum from the collections 
in remuneration. Between his name and that of William 
Brown, who appears in 1754, exactly one hundred years 
afterwards, the beadle is but a shadow, and a nameless one. 
" The beadle " is mentioned several times during that 
long period, but his name is not given. William Brown 
did not hold the office many years after 1754, as in 1757 
Robert Fairgrieve takes the bell-ringing in hand. David 
Henderson succeeded him in 1767, ten years later. After 
David came James Douglas in 1772. James Henderson 
came next in 1793, and he reigned thirty-eight years. He 
was the " King of the beadles." He is yet remembered 


as a man of fine build, not tall, but broad and stout, as a 
"seaman bold," with a nose hooked like the eagle's beak. 
He was a great snuffer. Coming under the notice of Lord 
Lauderdale, his lordship put him into livery, and thus, " not 
arrayed like one of these," James strutted about the dale 
till an advanced old age, proud of the " Yirl's " uniform and 
patronage. Many a shilling fell to him in this way in order 
that he might indulge his favourite "sneeshin'," The old 
chestnut is related of him that when asked how he was 
" gettin' on," he replied, " Hoot, no ava ; I haena buried a 
livin' sowl this sax weeks." 

This connection between our beadle and the Earl of 
Lauderdale recalls the relationship between that illustrious 
family and the beadle of Lunan. The able and genial 
historian of Arbroath thus narrates the story : — " A remark- 
able story, a romance of the peerage, is connected with two 
of the successive beadles of Lunan, father and son. The 
office of beadle in the parish was for a long time virtually 
hereditary in a family of the name of Gavin. It was held 
in 1720 by James Gavin, who showed hospitality to the 
skipper of a Dutch vessel which was in that year wrecked 
in Lunan Bay. The skipper married the beadle's daughter, 
and returned with his wife to Holland. Afterwards, the 
beadle's son, Alexander, succeeded to his father's office, 
and his son, David Gavin, became a partner in a commercial 
house in Holland, where he married his cousin, the skipper's 
daughter. She died soon afterwards, and David Gavin, 
having amassed a fortune, returned to Scotland, where he 
bought the estate of Langton in Berwickshire, and married, 
in 1770, Lady Betty, daughter of the Earl of Lauderdale. 
By this marriage he had three daughters, one of whom 
became Marchioness of Breadalbane, mother of the late 


Marquis and of the Duchess of Buckingham. Alexander 
Gavin, the kirk beadle of Lunan, was thus the father-in-law 
of an earl's daughter, the grandfather of a marchioness, and 
the great-grandfather of a marchioness and a duchess."* 

John Gibson succeeded James in 1831, and after five 
years' service he gave place to Laughlan M'Bean, who 
became beadle in 1836. "Lauchie" was twenty years in 
charge, and many stories are told of him, one or two of 
which seem to suggest that he was absent-minded to a 
degree. David Tait came in his place in 1856. He is 
spoken of as having the most retentive memory for local 
affairs of all the people in the parish. We can easily believe 
it : his sons, Robert and James, our present roadmen, having 
received their father's mantle in that respect. David Tait 
resigned in 1862, and John Lindsay took his place. He was 
uncle to the present beadle, Robert Lindsay, who began 
his duties in the year 1874-5, ^^^ still discharges them 
regularly and well. Robert is a man of strong character 
and resolution, and has the courage of his convictions. 
He is perhaps more feared than loved, but he has sterling 
honest qualities which compel respect. The writer has 
known few men more conscientious in the fulfilment of duty. 
First impressions do him injustice. He is credited with 
a nature somewhat unsympathetic, and with speaking his 
mind vigorously. He is nevertheless genial and kind, and 
has many humorous stories of bygone days. Genuinely 
Scotch, he possesses a scornful resentment of anything like 
fine palaver in the pulpit, and has scant respect for " grand 
English." He is a splendid workman, and never spares 
himself in what he does, and when it is done it can be 
trusted. It is impossible to give any man higher praise. 
* Aberbrothock Illustrated^ P- SS- 


In most country parishes the beadle also acts as sexton 
and gravedigger, and is indispensable at funerals. Mortuary 
notices are frequent throughout our old Parish Records, and 
cullings from these may have a certain interest to many. 
The mortdotk, for example, discontinued now for many 
years past, used to be a familiar object on all occasions 
of burial. In 1683 the fee for its hire was £i,6s. 8d. Scots 
(2s. 2fd. sterling), and in 1684, £1, is. (is. 9d.) ; 13s. 4d. for 
a child. A new one in 1705 cost ;^25, 9s., with ^24, 12s. 
for fringes (which " fringes " is said to be a false entry, how- 
ever), or a total of £^, 3s. id. sterling. In the same year 
a " mortcloth of sackcloth " cost for making, i s. Scots 
(id. sterling). In 1706, a "child's mortcloth," that is, a 
pall to be used over a child's coffin, cost ;^I3, 5s. Scots 
(^i, 2s. id. sterling), and the making of it, 7s. (7d.) A 
litter cost ;^i, 6s. (2s. 2d). In 1748, a new mortcloth cost 
the Kirk-session £62, 8s. (;^5, 4s.), replacing one made in 
1732 at a cost of ^15, 12s. For its use in 1752 and on- 
wards the charge was £2, 2s. Scots (3s. 4d. sterling), 
1 6s. Scots for the smaller one, and 6s. for a child's. These 
fees seem to have held till 1775, when they were raised to 
5s. sterling, and 2s. gd., the latter charge including the litter. 
In 1804, "the Session this day (23rd March) took under 
their consideration what the prices of the different mort- 
cloths should be when they were given out, and they agree 
that the best mortcloth shall be six shillings within the 
parish and seven when it goes out of the parish, besides 
a shilling over and above to help to keep the churchyard 
dyke in repair. The second mortcloth to be both within and 
without the parish three shillings and twopence, and a 
sixpence over and above for to help to keep the churchyard 
dyke in repair. The small mortcloth to be sixteen pence 


both within and without the parish. The beadle is to have 
one shilling off the best mortcloth money, eightpence off the 
second, and tenpence off the small mortcloth, for taking care 
of them. He is also to have one shilling and sixpence for 
digging big graves, and ninepence for digging small graves." 

" At same time the Session examined the accounts 
respecting the buying of the new mortcloth, etc., and finds 
as follows : — 

1 . To velvet, etc., for the new mortcloth, with expense of 

buying, amounts to . . . -£375 

2. To the tailor for making the new mortcloth and 

mending two old ones, with silk and thread, . o i8 6 

Added, is ^451 1* 

After 1834, the fee varied. We note 5s., 3s. gd., 2s., 3s., 
and in 1848-49, is. The people appear to have latterly 
almost wholly discarded the use of the mortcloth. The 
preference of the present day is for simplicity in burials. 
Funerals are devoid of the garniture of woe which formerly 
obtained on such occasions, and while the coffin is carried 
from the hearse to the grave without any drapings, the 
mourners follow it without that display of crape and white 
" weepers " (bands of cambric sewn round the coat sleeve at 
the wrist), which was so common to a former generation. 
Those attending nearly all come on foot where distances are 
not great, but it was customary of yore for a large proportion 
of the mourners to ride on horseback, and a troop of boys 
were wont to accompany them with the expectation of 
receiving a penny or twopence for " holding the horses " at 
the entrance to the churchyard until the owners should 
return from the interment. In consequence, a funeral then 

* Kirk Records. 


sometimes meant a holiday to the school. In 1733, a coffin 
cost ^3 Scots (5s. sterling); in 1775, 5s. sterling; in 1776, 
6s. ; in 1783, 7s. ; in 1796, 9s. ; in 1804, 12s. ; but these were 
cases where the poor were buried at public expense. 

Proclamation of marriage in church cost, in 1705, 14s. 
Scots (is. 2d. sterling) ; and this seems to have been the fee 
till 1843. From November 9 of that year until November 
27, 1885, we have no record of these fees. On that date 
the proclamation fee is set down at 2s. 66. This is the 
charge at present. 

For "ringing the bell" a year the beadle received in 1705 
the sum of £2, 8s. Scots (4s. sterling). In 1721 there is 
this entry, " To the Schoolmaster and Bellman, and other poor 
people, ;^8, 4s. This fee continued till 1795, when it was 
raised to 12s. sterling; in 1807, to 15s. 4d. ; in 1808, to ;^i ; 
and from 181 1 till 1836 it was £^, 3s. From 1833 till 1835 it 
was £4, 4s. In 1837 the beadle's salary is stated at £2, 2s. 
yearly; in 1847 it is again £2, 3s. In 1855 it was £2. 
This was supplemented, however, by the heritors, who made 
the beadle's salary, in 1873, £6. No money from church 
funds appears to have been given to the beadle after 17th 
May 1874, when £1 was paid to John Lindsay. The 
heritors bear the whole expense from that to this date, and 
the sum paid at present is the same as in 1873. 

The Church. 

The original Church of Childeschirche, if we may assume 
it to have come into existence between the seventh and 
ninth centuries, would be a very humble structure erected 
out of the rough materials which the district afforded. 
Rough stones chipped with a hammer, turf and fail, would 


compose the walls, with a roof made of the trees growing 
plentifully on the spot, protected by thatch made of grasses. 
In the thirteenth century, as we know from Bellesheim, 
churches were enjoined to be built of stone — the nave by 
the parishioners, the chancel by the rector, and the same to 
be duly consecrated and furnished with proper ornaments, 
books, and sacred vessels. In 1627, Channelkirk Church is 
mentioned as being in the usual form of a cross. It was in 
size incapable of accommodating the 400 communicants of 
the parish, and the choir was without a roof In 1653, ten 
thousand divots were used in repairing it. It was first 
roofed with slates in 1724. The slates were brought 
from Dundee, and the trouble and expense must have 
been considerable. But on a church with such a lofty 
exposure thatch would be even more so. 

The present church was built in 1817. The old struc- 
ture was much smaller, had very low galleries, and a common 
earthen floor. The foundations of it, it is said, are yet to 
be seen below the present church flooring. When it was 
building, it is reported that many bones and skulls were 
exhumed from the centre of the old structure and carelessly 
cast out on to the field, where they rolled downhill. They 
must have been buried before 1560, for no burials have been 
made within churches since Protestant reforms were in- 
augurated. The entrance seems to have been from the 
west instead of from the east as at present. In 1775 the 
then minister characterised it as more like a common jail 
than a place of worship. There was little light, the snow and 
rain came through the roof, the walls were dark and dismal, 
and it was colder that the people could endure. The heritors 
have a bad record in connection with Channelkirk Church. 
If the minister of 1816 had not refused to preach any more 


in the structure they called a church, the old building would 
perhaps have been allowed to do duty to this day ; that is 
to say, all that the owls, and rats and mice, and dry rot had 
left of it. The minister's determined, if unwarrantable, act 
brought matters to a crisis, and the present fairly handsome 
building was the result. " Out of evil still educing good." 

At that time there was an eager desire on the part of 
many parishioners to remove it to the neighbourhood of 
Oxton, a scheme which was happily frustrated. Long may 
it stand in its old historical place, overlooking the beautiful 
dale of Leader, to which it first became the visible symbol 
of the Eternal and Unseen. 

The style of architecture of the church is perpendicular 
Gothic. The doors are finished with Tudor arches, the 
windows with divided mullions and transomes of stone. The 
belfry on the west gable, with its acanthus ornamentation, 
and the unpretentious cross on the east, are both modest 
in taste and character, and suitably befitting a rural place 
of worship. The chief eyesore is the architectural tumour 
on the north side of the building which the inside stair 
leading to the gallery has swollen outwards for its own 
relief Galleries seem fatal additions to churches, both in 
principle and detail, and never fail to mar the outside and 
inside of the building which is afflicted with them. A 
corresponding protuberance on the south side might have 
given to the eye an illusive show of transepts, but, as it is, 
the church has to content itself with a warty dignity, a 
deformity, however, which has not been shown in the photo- 
engraving given as frontispiece. After all, its grandest 
ornaments are doubtless the hills and glens which lie 
around it, and the sincere company of honest people who 
fill it Sunday after Sunday. 


It has been several times rewooded for dry rot ; damp 
and lack of ventilation being the principal causes. During 
the late minister's time, it was painted inside and varnished, 
at some expense. Since coming here, we have seen it all 
black with soot, owing to the heating apparatus breaking 
out, and thereupon repainted and cleaned. Floors have 
been laid for the first time with matting, the doors covered 
with crimson baize, and the pulpit refitted with silk trim- 
mings. There would be much gratification on the part of 
all concerned if our absentee landlords or our absentee 
tenants (for their past sins !) were to put in memorial 
windows, or gift an organ to the church. It lacks these 
to give a sense of completion to an otherwise graceful and 
commodious place of worship. At the same time, the 
writer feels the claim that simplicity of externals has in a 
Zion so thoroughly rural. A distinguished visitor once said 
when the subject was mooted, " Well ! one longs now and 
then to have the old style of worship in all its sincerity 
and plainness, and if one cannot shake one's self free here 
of the masterfulness of organs and choirs, where are we to 
do it?" We acknowledge the force of Ruskin's statement: 
" The Church has no need of any visible splendours : her 
power is independent of them, her purity is in some degree 
opposed to them. The simplicity of a pastoral sanctuary 
is lovelier than the majesty of an urban temple." * 

Looking round on the simple mounds in the church- 
yard, the calm solemnity of the hills, the quiet truth of 
field and correi and spreading wood, one is forced to admit 
that in sacred things one may have far too many artifici- 
alities, and though the present minister would rejoice to 
hear a fully equipped orchestra lead the praise of God 
* Seven Lamps, chap i. 



among surroundings not so near the rebukes of larks and 
mavises, nor so foreign and far away from the stern, rough- 
throated praises of our peasantry, he has to say that he 
has heard the old Scotch psalms lifted up by an open- 
air assembly in Kelphope Glen, and on the breezy braes 
of Clints and Collielaw, in such a way that put every " help 
to devotion," either of wind or windows, completely out of 
comparison. It is well, indeed, to aim at realising ideals 
and "keeping up to the time," but a sense of the fitness 
of things is also becoming. The passion of worship should 
never lack the enthusiasm of the past, however it may 
soar on the aspirations of the present, and when the soul of 
old times is cut out of the praises of ordinary Sundays, 
and the spirits of our fathers are no longer heard in the 
Communion psalms, then national worship seems to have 
lost part of its grand continuity and strength, and a bar 
is dropped from the great fugue of the centuries. No 
native worshipper has ever mentioned in our hearing 
that an organ would " improve " the " services " : some of 
our townified visitors have done so : but we have heard 
several times, from parishioners, denunciations, " not loud 
but deep," upon any attempt which should change " the old 
order." The minister believes strongly that the desire 
and initiative should come from the congregation in all 
that concerns changes in forms of worship, and consequently 
waits for the moving of the waters. If, then, it should arrive 
in the full tide of orchestral grandeur, the deeper will be 
his satisfaction. 

No part of the old church seems to have been pre- 
served in the structure of the present one, except the sun- 
dial, and, perhaps, the cross. These are noticed under 
" Antiquities," chapter xxiii. 



The church is in length of outside wall, 50 ft, inside 
wall, 44 ft., in breadth of gable wall, 34 ft. 8 in. outside 
and inside, 28 ft. 9 in. It is orientated, though its position 
relative to the north is between the magnetic north and 
true geographical. 

Internally, the church is commodious and comfortable, 
and is of the usual presbyterian oblong construction. There 
is no difficulty in being easily heard in all parts of it, even 
when articulation and delivery are defective and feeble. The 
roof is ceiled like an ordinary dwelling-house, and is pierced 
by two circular ventilators. Perhaps the inside view of the 
church gives less satisfaction to the eye than does the outside. 
The charm of perspective, and the dignity which is given 
by elevation, are both destroyed by the surrounding galleries. 
This is still more emphasized by the arrangement which has 
placed the pulpit on the side wall. But we do not need to 
remind ourselves that this is due not to a crude artistic taste 
on the part of those who build churches, but purely to con- 
siderations of expense. It saves land and material, and 
workmen's wages. To perch the half of the congregation 
above the other half, like poultry on spars in a henhouse, 
utilises space of elevation, makes it possible to contract the 
walls, which saves quarrying and hewing, and renders the 
roof narrower to cover over, and so curtails the cost of wood 
and plastering. Summer and other visitors, however, always 
express surprise at finding all so neat and comfortable. 

The ugly erection immediately above the pulpit, which 
is called a " sounding board," is also a painful reminder that 
a right intention may sometimes have the worst form of 

The church is accommodated with a Haden stove for 
heating purposes, but it cannot be said to warm the church. 



as the portion nearest the hot-air outlet becomes too hot 
while the remoter seats remain in a Greenland temperature. 
The stove was generously put in by the heritors in April 
1869. We may add that the church is insured for ^^500. 

The kirk bell, which has a very pleasant tone on Fjf,« 
bears the inscription : " For Channonkirk, 1702." There 
is an old saying quoted by Dr Raine,* and which the late 
Dr Hardy, of Old Cambus, informed the writer he had 
heard when a boy, which runs as follows : — 

" Chinglekirk bell 
Which rings now 
And evermair shall." 

The rope which works it hangs down outside the western 
gable, in the old-fashioned way, and when high winds rage 
out of the west it has a trick of slipping its holdfast and 
walloping round the corners of the church, to the destruction 
of window-glass. It would naturally be supposed that after 
such expense once incurred, the rope would be let down 
inside the church, where it would be secure from playing 
pranks, and insure the beadle, also, some comfort in a wintry 
morning in ringing the bell. We do things differently in 
the country ; the rope is mended, fastened anew, put up in 
the old place to wait till the next storm of wind visits it, and 
then there begins the old wrestling with the holdfast, the old 
breakloose, and the usual result. The beadle, on the 
following Sunday, finds that his rope has flung itself in 
disgust up over the crow-steps of the gable in such a way 
as to need ladders and much manipulation to coax it to 
return to its proper duties. 

There is only one service in church, summer and winter, 

*Surtees Society, 1838. 


at noon on Sundays. For several years services were also 
held in the village schoolroom on Sunday evenings, but the 
novelty grew common, and the attendances thinned away to 
a handful. Summer services are yet held in the open air in 
• the outlying parts of the parish, but these, also, are meagrely 
attended. From all we have been able to note of the 
character of the people, we should infer that their religious 
instincts are not of the enthusiastic kind. Religion is quite 
a Sunday affair, and does not seriously interfere with the 
week day at all. There is a dumb sense of duty which seems 
to send them forth on Sunday morning, and which seems to 
draw its strength largely from hereditary sources and the 
sheer force of custom. The church stands apart from their 
feelings in most respects. Especially is this so among the 
farming population. No amount of entreaty, or persuasion, 
will move a man or woman of them to do anything for the 
church or the Sunday School. But for the grateful assistance 
which comes steadily from the village, in the matter of elders 
and Sunday School teachers, the entire religious ministra- 
tions of the parish would fall to be done alone by the 
minister. Nothing has grieved the minister more than 
this dead, dour, inert spirit of the agricultural population. 
Apart from the Christianity of the matter, there is a lack of 
manly virility, a want of animation and interest in the 
ordinary things of life, that must sadden any one responsible 
for their moral and spiritual well-being. Some say the 
cause is found in their holding to "disestablishment" notions, 
and of their being encouraged in these contrary ways by 
those in the parish who exercise an authority over them. 
We do not think so. There would be evidence of stir and 
motion somewhere if such were the case. But the apathy is 
too deep. The minister would easily feel such a spirit in 



their manner, for the country has no conventional ways with 
it to cloak its resentments. On the contrary, the minister is 
welcomed in every home with a kindliness and warmth 
which bespeak true hearts and no hypocrisy. It appears to 
arise from an inability to take any action upon conviction. 
We find that people coming into the parish experience the 
same surprise as ourselves in this respect. Others say the 
reason is that all the farmers, being mostly dissenters, their 
siervants, who are nearly to a man churchmen, hesitate to 
seem prominent, in any way, in church or school, lest worse 
things befall them. If so, we apologise for all the blame 
which we have laid at their door. There is one way, at least, 
in which this is true. Some of the men never get to church. 
If asked why, the answer is, " The master has aye some- 
thing to dae for us at kirk-time." Shepherds and orramen 
complain most about this. Perhaps it were nearer the 
truth to say that dull times have to do with such a state of 
matters. The farmer, finding that he cannot keep sufficient 
men to do all the work on the farm, must pinch in some way 
to get it out of the others on Sundays. But there is no 
denying that a great change has come over the religious 
character of our peasantry. Here and there one may meet 
with evidences of the old piety and earnestness, but it is 
rare. Only once in this parish, we believe, we encountered 
it. When we made our visitation to the house, the " bake- 
board" was on the table, and the gudewife was up to the 
elbows among flour dough. The gudeman was resting, and 
his dogs were at full length under the table where baking 
operations were proceeding. By-and-by, during the con- 
versation, the table was cleared up, and, just as if it were a 
matter of course, the big Bible was laid reverently on it by 
the wife, with a " Noo, sir," as much as to say, " Lead the 


worship," and family worship proceeded. It was a generous 
experience, but we considered that it was necessary to go 
back a hundred years, at least, for the tap-root of it. So far 
as we can ascertain, family worship is very rare in the parish. 
The kirk is killed at the cradle. We confess to the belief 
that all backsliding in church and public life is directly due 
to the decay of religion at the fireside. The Church is partly 
to blame for this. The peasant has been encouraged to 
believe that if he send his child to a Sunday School, his 
duty in its religious training is at an end. Ministers loudly 
proclaim the need of, and torture their wits to create, 
sufficient " bridges " between the Sunday School, the Bible 
Class, and the young Communicants' Class. We think the 
Creator has made some, and that the " bridges " should 
always be found in the home ; but by the direct creation, on 
the part of the pulpit, of a false view of parental responsi- 
bility, fathers and mothers have let the "bridges" go with 
the stream, and the parent's part is not found anywhere in 
our ecclesiastical " plans " for saving the souls of the young. 
Then, when a parish obtains a character for blasphemy, 
drunkenness, or fornication, and church attendance is low, 
the blame is laid upon the minister ! The root of the evil 
will be found growing up at the fireside, manured by the 
buried corpse of family worship. No father now desires the 
sacred associations of the Church for his family when there 
are births, marriages, or burials in it. The Church has no 
existence in the honours and solemnities of our peasant life. 
It must be said, with some reflections, that where the newly 
converted savage in the wilds of Africa has the services of 
the missionary, he stands exactly on the same level of 
ecclesiastical advantage as we do here on the Lammermuirs 
of Scotland. No member's child has been baptised in 



Channelkirk Church ; no one has been married in it ; no 
dead person has passed forth from its hallowed precincts 
to the tomb, within the memory of man. Here is a 
gap needing a bridge ! How different in other spheres. 
The school is carried through life in the memories of the 
boy ; the pride of his university is carried over land and 
sea in the bosom of the student ; the House of Parliament 
never fades out of the family traditions of those who have 
sat there ; but the Church alone is cut off from the sacred- 
nesses of our lives, and is only associated with " weary " days 
and " disagreeable " services. Then, in view of all this, our 
venerable Assemblies wring their hands over the lapsed 
masses ! More glory to them, and much success to them 
with their committees on " Religious Conditions of the 
People," " Church Extension," and " Heavenly Unions." 
That the " religious condition of the people " under such 
circumstances should be other than pitiable, that " Church 
extension " should be laggard, or " heavenly unions " im- 
possible, we are not in the least surprised. Church life 
in the heart of it everywhere rots. No one attaches much 
value to its statements of principle ; no one seems to care 
a straw for its discipline. In faith and form there is 
deplorable deficiency. The machinery of motives is all 
pivoted upon finance and statistics. Get money ! Get up 
the numbers on the Kirk Roll ! Furious coercions are 
directed to these purposes, and the " successful " minister is 
he who shows them largest. Meanwhile, there is no form 
of religion in the home ; there is no connection between the 
sacrednesses of the family and the Church ; there is little or 
no faith in the "Standards" ; scorn rather ; and the minister's 
office is regarded more and more as a question of " bags," 
"ladles," or door "plates." 



But lest any one should imagine that Channelkirk is a 
parish given over to iniquity, let us hasten to say that in all 
outward semblance the people appear respectable, temperate, 
industrious, and honest. Fornication seems to be the pre- 
valent vice, but it is bad enough. They are pleasant people 
to deal with, apart from the standard of piety. They are 
very healthy people. They send their children to the schools, 
week-day and Sunday ; the Communions are fairly well 
attended ; and when weather is favourable, their attendance 
at church, allowing for the natural disadvantages, is all that 
could be desired. But, withal, the spiritual life is low, in 
most cases extinct, and it is this phase of parish life that the 
minister must regard as chief among all else ; for when this 
is dead, the rest is dying. 

The following is a list of members on the Communion 
Roll for the years between 1892 and 1900. 

Number of Members on the Roll, 31st Dec. 1892—142 


„ 1894— 171 


„ 1896—198 


' „ 1898 — 206, 

„ 1899—217 

The average attendance at Communion (which is held 
twice a year) during the last eight years was 90, the lowest 
being 77, the highest iii. The last figure was reached In 
the November Communion of 1899, being the nearest 
approach to the number 112, which was attained fourteen 
years before. 

Connected with the church there is a Sunday School, 
which is held in the village schoolroom. It was first opened 
as the Parish Church Sunday School on 17th November 1895. 


There were 38 scholars, and William Bell, elder, now gone 
to his rest, was the only teacher besides the minister. 
Since then the average number on the roll is 66. There are 
at present three male and three female teachers. 

A Bible Class was opened for the first time in the winter 
1892-93. An average of 20 has attended since then. It 
meets at 1 1 A.M. on Sundays in the church. A Zenana 
work-party flourished for two seasons, but gradually lost 
interest for the women of the congregation. The great 
distances which have to be faced through snow and rain 
prove fatal to all meetings of this kind. This also hinders 
the attendance of the women of the parish at church ; 
it prevents, likewise, a second service on Sundays ; and, 
there being no lamps, all evening meetings are impossible. 

Church Patrons. — The right to appoint a person to 
officiate in spiritual things in a place set apart for that 
purpose is one that has always been exercised, and often 
fiercely contended for. To-day the people possess this 
power. It was not always in the hands of the people. This 
arrangement is modern and purely protestant, and was, 
perhaps, granted more to allay unseemly procedure than to 
justify an inherent principle. Of old it was deemed the sacred 
prerogative of Heaven. " No man taketh this honour unto 
himself but he that is called of God." The Master " calleth 
unto Him whom he would." This prerogative He committed 
to we know whom ; it was not to the crowd either in or out 
of church. But the argument of force and finance have long 
overridden the jurisdiction of the Highest, and it is even 
now accepted as an axiom that money and majorities are 
the supreme founts of power in church or palace. This 
system may be convenient for a time, but it will end. It 
never has had sanction from the teaching of the Master, and 


when the Church condescends to put aside the authority of 
her Reformers, her Fathers, her Pauls and Johns, to follow- 
humbly that of Christ alone, the people and the patrons will 
also lay down abashed an usurpation which their experi- 
ence has fully declared to be an unholy one. 

The patronage of Channelkirk Church is first seen in the 
hands of Hugh de Morville of Lauderdale. But when he 
took upon himself the monk's robes he also resigned to the 
Abbot of Dryburgh the advowson of the church, which he 
gifted to him and his brethren, and there it remained till the 
Reformation. The Bishop of St Andrews in 1242, "in con- 
sideration of the charity of the canons, and the debts they 
had incurred in building their monastery, and other expenses, 
gave them permission to enjoy the revenues of the churches 
under their patronage, within his diocese, one of their number, 
approved by him^ performing the office of a vicar in each 
parish^ * The canons, therefore, would serve the cure of 
Channelkirk under the approval of the Bishop of St Andrews 
up till the year 1 560. The advowson then passed into the 
hands of the King, who conferred it, along with others, upon 
John, Earl of Mar, Lord Erskine and Garioch. The Act of 
1606, c. 91, sets forth that the King "wills the foresaidis 
personages and vicarages sail be provydit with qualefeit 
godlie and learnit persones apt and hable to instruct the 
parochineris thairof in the. knowin veritie," and that to Lord 
Mar is to be given, " The advocatioun, donatioun and full 
richt and titill of all and sindrie the forsaidis kirkis, parochinnes, 
alsweill personages as vicarages of the samen."t There was no 
qualified minister in Channelkirk till 161 1. The Act of 1592, 
c. 116, provided that Presbyteries were bound and astricted 

* Monastic Annals of Teviotdale, p. 311. 
t Acts of the Scottish Padiament. 


to receive and admit whatsoever qualified minister was pre- 
sented by His Majesty or laic patrons. King James VL and 
L presented Francis Collace in 1615, and King Charles L 
presented Henry Cockburn in 1625. Lord Cardross presents 
Walter Keith in 1663. In March 1682, there is a sasine in 
favour of James Peter and others of the advocation and 
donation of the Parish and Parish Kirk of Ginglekirk.* As 
William Arrot came in the following year, 1683, he must 
have been presented by " Peter and others." But the Act of 
1690, c. 23, put the patronage of churches into the power of 
the heritors and elders, who elected the minister that fol- 
lowed Mr Arrot. In 171 1, the Act which was then passed 
(10 Anne, c. 12) wrenched this privilege from the heritors and 
elders, and restored it once more to the laic patrons. Conse- 
quently, James Peter, of Chapel, exercised the right to 
present Rev. David Scott in 1752. As showing how the 
right of patronage was sometimes bargained about, we have 
on 26th May 1763 a sasine granted in favour of James 
Pringle, Esq. of Rowland, who receives " All and Haill the 
advocation, donation, and right of patronage of the Parish 
Kirk of Channelkirk, alias Ginglekirk, lying within the said 
Bailiary of Lauderdale : proceeding upon a heritable bond 
granted by George Peter,f elder of Chappell, and Captain 
James Peter, younger of Chappell, with consent therein 
specified." J 

From James Pringle the right of patronage went to Hugh, 
Earl of Marchmont, who presented Rev. Thomas Murray in 
1792. It continued in the hands of the Marchmonts till the 

* Sasines. 

t Mr George Peter seems to have had some pious repute, as we find 
him chosen by the Burgh of Lauder to represent them in the General 
Assemblies of 1747 and 1750. — Lauder Burgh Records. % Sasines. 


patronage was vested in the congregation by the statute law 
of 1874. 

It may be permissible to mention here that the writer, 
with consent of the heritors, erected in 1897 a mural brass, 
having engraved on it an account of the name of the church, 
the chief facts of its history, and the names of its ministers 
as far as known. It is placed on the south wall. 

The Churchyard. 

" Oh come, come wi' me 
To the auld kirkyaird, 
Ye weel ken the path 
Through the soft green swaird ; 
Friends slumber there 
Ye were wont to regard, 
And their bodies lie low in the auld kirkyaird. 

Weep not for them. 
They weep no more ; 
Sorrow not for them, 
For their sorrows are o'er ; 
Sweet is their sleep, 
Though cold and hard, 
. . Their pillows lie low in the auld kirkyaird." 

Channelkirk Churchyard is in all likelihood co-eval with 
the church which was originally raised to the honour and 
memory of St Cuthbert. And although we have no early 
historical reference to this, there are not lacking some 
indications that it must have been a place of very early 
sepulture. As the visitor to the sacred place passes round 
the church to the west gable, a few rude stones present 
themselves lying against the wall or "dyke," which divides 
the manse grounds from the cemetery. These have a history 
which is set forth in the newspaper cutting which follows : — 
"Curious burial: On the fifth of this month (March 1897)^ 
while preparations were being made for an interment in 


Channelkirk Churchyard, a curious instance of primitive 
burial was brought to Hght. Instead of a coffin, rude slabs 
of stone had been employed to surround the corpse. Two 
small pieces were found on the inner side of the larger 
stones, supporting each side of the head, and evidently 
intended to keep it in its normal position. No stone was 
found either above or below, with the exception of two 
or three small bits laid above the head. The earth im- 
mediately surrounding the remains was of quite a different 
kind from the natural soil. The grave was about six feet 
deep. A very peculiar feature was the slanting way in 
which the body had been laid. The head seemed to have 
rested at least twenty inches above the level of the feet. 
The lair was due east and west in the usual way, and this 
would seem to point to Christian sepulture, but this mode 
of burial, it appears, is usually considered to be prehistoric. 
The mere semblance of a skull was visible, and sensibly 
indicated a person of full-grown stature. It crumbled 
away on exposure to the air. The tomb was found two 
yards due south-west from that corner of the church. The 
stones exhumed are of a rude unprepared description, and 
bear the appearance of having been chosen simply because 
they lay readiest to hand. They have been laid aside for 
inspection by the curious. The churchyard, it is needless 
to say, is a very old one, and may have had Romans as 
well as Britons laid within its hallowed confines." 

We may supplement this account by a few remarks. 
The grave, though " about six feet deep," would not be more 
than three originally, as the ground has been levelled up 
considerably during church renovations and rebuildings. 
Perhaps it could not have been more than two feet under- 
ground primarily. The head was to all appearance that 


of a man. Mr Wight, farmer, Carfrae, when his attention 
was drawn to this case, was of opinion that a similar burial 
had taken place there at one time, as on repairing the 
road in front of his stables, a tomb-like hollow was exposed 
about two feet below the surface, but only half the length 
of a man of common size. It was, of course, customary 
in ancient burials to double the corpse's legs in such a way 
as to make the tomb much smaller than those of the 
present. The Channelkirk one may have been similar, 
but owing to the ground around it having been disturbed, 
it was impossible to trace the likeness with any certainty. 
There is no mention of the churchyard having been con- 
secrated when Bishop de Bernham consecrated the church 
in 1 24 1. The reason is obvious. The churches which were 
rebuilt on the sites of the old ones required renewed con- 
secration, but the churchyard would be consecrated from 
the beginning once for all time. 

There are few graves or gravestones in the churchyard 
which call for special remark. No one of known celebrity 
seems to have been buried in it. The memorial stones are 
for most part of plain workmanship, and commonplace in 
record. The entrance to it was at one time from the north- 
west quarter, and it is in this neighbourhood that tomb- 
stones of some degree of quaintness are to be found. 
There are none that seem older than about the middle of 
the seventeenth century. The graves, according to the 
fashion of country " kirkyairds," are all raised in mounds 
above the usual level, a circumstance which at first sight 
gives a painful impression to the beholder, who may 
perhaps be accustomed to the smooth green sward of 
town cemeteries. The custom, of course, comes down from 
remote times, when no tombstone was erected to any one, 


and the mound alone served to direct the steps of sorrowing 
friends to where the dead lay. 

Perhaps the greatest interest attaches to the stone 
which commemorates the Somerville family. This stone 
is oblong and raised on four stone pedestals, one foot in 
height from the ground. It stands on the south side of 
the church. The grave, however, is not underneath the 
stone, but to the north of it a few feet, and the church wall 
must be built over it. The proper place for the stone 
would have been in the church wall if exact locality had 
been aimed at ; and also because, owing to space, it would 
have been an obstruction to people passing round the 
church, it was placed just as far from the wall as permit 
a footpath between them. The last of the descendants 
of the Somervilles of Airhouse resented this arrangement, 
but it was too late then to alter it, and so it remains. 
Being convenient for the purpose, it is turned into the 
" Kirkyaird Convention Stane," of which few churchyards 
are quite devoid. That is to say, it is the place where 
young and old seat themselves of a Sunday morning in 
oblong conclave, back to back, " before bell-time," and 
discuss the local topics of interest. The Wight tombstone, 
in the extreme south-west corner, is the only other table- 
stone in the churchyard. Both are of the same shape and 
finish, being chamfered on one side, but the Wight stone 
is laid with the chamfered side upmost, whereas the Somer- 
ville stone is the reverse of this. In the latter, the space 
available for inscription is, consequently, greater and con- 
tinuous from top to bottom. Some smaller upright stones 
in the west portion of the churchyard deserve attention 
both from their age and the characteristic emblems and 
figures sculptured on them. A large one at the south-west 


corner of the west gable is notable in this respect. Many 
new tombstones have been put up during this century, and 
the practice is becoming more general. 

The remoteness of the churchyard, its high moorland 
surroundings, and its situation on the direct route to Edin- 
burgh, made it a tempting lure for the " Resurrectionists " 
at the beginning of this century. No corpse was secure 
from their clutches, and several exciting chases took place. 
The most notable is, perhaps, the following :— 

The public road ascending from Lauderdale to Soutra 
Hill is cut at various intervals by ravines, more or less 
wide, made by rivulets of water rushing down to Headshaw 
Water during spates, and at these points the road has small 
tunnels or conduits underneath to pass the water through 
in its headlong course down the slopes. The first of these 
which the traveller meets on his way from the south is 
called "The Bairnies' Conduit." Two children had been 
buried in Channelkirk Churchyard, and the medical corbies 
from Edinburgh prepared to descend upon the prey. All 
had gone successfully with them, the bodies were lifted, the 
trap or " deadcoach " had got away without notice from the 
burial-place, but when this ravine was reached, some hitch 
had occurred which placed it in jeopardy, and the bodies, 
which had been put in a sack, were quickly concealed under 
the road inside the conduit, to be lifted at a more convenient 
season. The body-snatchers were evidently scared for some 
reason or other. Mr Hogg, the farmer (buried January 
1834), then of Channelkirk Farm — the old farm which 
stood opposite the manse, and which is now obliterated — 
had had occasion next day to be in the ravine in which 
the ghastly deposit was concealed, and caught sight of the 
sack obtruding from the conduit. He quickly discovered 


what it all meant, and raised the alarm throughout the 
parish. The wrath and excitenient of the people knew 
no bounds, and men with guns turned out to lay wait for 
the return of the marauders. The bodies were put back 
into the conduit, and a numerous watch set to catch the 
corbies. By-and-by, in the gloaming, a trap drawn by one 
horse passed down the road, and went on to Carfraemill Inn, 
nearly two miles further down the dale. All was eager 
expectancy on the part of the ambuscade, but whether the 
two men who were in the trap had seen, as they passed, 
signs at the ravine of danger, or had scented suspicion in 
the looks of the people at the inn, who, of course, were fully 
apprised of all that was going forward, it is uncertain. They 
had deemed it safer, however, to leave the parish behind 
them as quickly as possible, and rode furiously past the 
conduit once more on their way to Edinburgh. Some aver 
that but for the eagerness of those of the ambuscade who 
showed themselves too soon, and whose guns went off 
through excitement, and betrayed the plan, the trap would 
have stopped at the conduit and lifted the bodies. The 
" resurrectionists " got clear away at all events, and the bodies 
of the poor children were once more committed to the 
"auld kirkyaird." 

After this occurrence a strong iron coffin-cage was made, 
into which the newly-buried were placed, coffin and all, and 
the whole entombed until the body was beyond all uses of 
the " medicals," after which it was again raised, the coffin 
taken out of its iron encasement, and buried finally by 
itself, the "cage" being reserved for the next interment. 
This " cage " is still preserved, and lies on the north side 
of the church against the boundary wall, and may be seen 
by the curious at any time. 




Many cases of body-snatching are spoken of, but the 
above seems to have impressed itself most upon the 
memories of the inhabitants. The " big woman at the 
Dass " was the last case of lifting. She was buried on a 
Saturday, and when the worshippers came to church next 
day, an open grave and scattered earth were all that re- 
mained to tell where she had been laid. 



Its "Bad Eminence" in Church Histories — In Twelfth and Thirteenth 
Centuries — Worth and Wealth of the Monks — Dryburgh Abbey and 
the Titulars of Channelkirk — Stipend during the Years 1620-1900 — 
Heritors and Agents — Cess Rolls. 

It is a matter of some regret that discussions on stipend 
have been so prominent in histories of the Church of Scotland. 
This " bad eminence " has been given to them by necessity. 
The humble penny, as much an " aid to devotion " as to 
honesty, instead of being regulated in ecclesiastical affairs by 
a sympathetic common sense, has been absurdly exalted to 
the glittering pedestals of moral law. It has been held, for 
example, that " Blessed be ye poor " means " Blessed is 
poverty," and that a poor church is essential to the main- 
tenance of a pure church. It is thus that a senseless ethic 
has starved many a manse, just as in days bypast a criminal 
text burned many a poor old woman as a witch. The sorrow 
of it also continues in the fact that equally under national 
law and the desires of the dissenting people, the starvation 
still proceeds. Perhaps the reason is to be found in the 
acquired instincts of Scottish theology, which has construed 
the path of the minister to be more consonant to that of holi- 
ness when shadowed with misery and stained with blood. The 
" old clo' " of the Jews still cling to us in this as in much else. 


It is between the years 1165-89 that we have the first 
historical reference to the maintenance of Channelkirk priest. 
Richard de Morville then concedes and confirms to the 
brethren of Dryburgh Abbey " the gifts of my father (Hugh 
de Morville) which, with himself, he gave to them, viz., the 
Church of Childenchirch with all those pertinents with which 
Godfrey the priest held it on the day in which my father 
assumed the canonical dress."* 

Although the " pertinents " are not specified, it is not 
difficult to infer from other sources that the endowment of 
the church was in land, together with the tenths of the 
produce of certain land-districts. The Church of North- 
umbria and the Lothians was an offshoot from the Columban 
Church in both' its cHaracteristics of spiritual jurisdiction and 
monastic practices, and assurning, as we may safely do, that 
.Channelkirk Church was Columban before it was Roman 
Catholic, the condition' of life of its ministers before Godfrey's 
day is riot wholly unknown to us. Bede has shown us that 
many Irishmen (Scots) came daily into Britain, preaching 
the word of faith with great devotion to those provinces of 
the Angles over which King Oswald reigned. " Churches 
were built in several places : the people joyfully ' flocked 
together to hear the word : money and lands were given of 
the King^s bounty to build monasteries. \ 

The example set by the King was generally followed by 
his vassals, and wherever a church existed, the owners of 
land endowed it, according to their zeal and faith, with 
portions of the land ; and ordained that the tenths (following 
the Jewish systerri) should be forthcoming from certain parts 
farmed by their followers and henchmen. 

* Liber de Driburgh, Charter No. 8. 

^ Ecclesiastical History., Book III., chap. iii. 


When, therefore, we read that King Malcolm (1153-65) 
confirmed to Dryburgh Abbey the donations of Hugh and 
Robert (Richard) de Morville, viz. : " Channelkirk Church, 
with land adjacent to it, and everything justly pertaining to 
it," we are not to suppose that the De Morvilles had 
originally endowed Channelkirk Church, or built it, but that 
they had given it as it stood, and as they found it on their 
Lauderdale lands ; while the priest of it was also to be 
preserved in the rights, privileges, and emoluments with 
which he had held it prior to the time of their coming into 

It is not possible, perhaps, at this distant date, to arrive 
at any clear statement as to the exact value of the priest's 
" living," though we may venture to do so approximately. 
We have no doubt that it would be a " sufficient " living, for 
in those days, and while the Church was Roman, the labourer 
in God's vineyard was never grudged and denied, as he is 
now, a comfortable and respectable maintenance. 

To the modern starvationist, it must be galling to read 
that about 1220 quite an embarrassment of riches befell 
Channelkirk Church. The treasury must have been bursting 
with wealth : pious people were so mistaken ! Land in 
abundance, arable as well as meadow, was gifted to it by 
a foolish person called Henry, son of Samson. He measures 
it from Pilmuir to Wennesheued (Fens-head ?), and from 
Wennesheued to Bradestrotherburn, and from there to the 
Leader. He also flings all the pertinents after the land; so 
reckless was he ! Channelkirk held an interest also in those 
days in the lands of Threeburnford. She looked upon' ten 
acres to the immediate east of the church as her own 
patrimony, with the addition of much land " adjacent to " the 
church, an endowment of which there is no definition given. 



but which we have reason to believe included all the lands of 
Kirklandhill estate, now Kirktonhill. To all these we must 
add eight acres in the Haugh opposite what is now Mount- 
mill steading. But even in those degenerate times, the high 
officers of the Church heard their days before them, and 
caught a glimmering of that purifying policy which rejoices 
at present the latter-day starvationist. The priest in 
Channelkirk parish was not allowed to wallow in so much 
wealth. The monks of Dryburgh first milked the cow, 
and then permitted him to lick the outside of the milk- 
pail. This, as it is yet believed, taught him self-denial, self- 
sacrifice, and more and more to die daily unto sin and live 
unto righteousness. But we are far from lamenting his case. 
Even the outside of the pail was worth licking in those 
days, and, as we shall see, was flaked with a greater 
richness of cream than is to be found inside of it in modern 

We arrive at some glimmering conception of the value 
of the stipend of Channelkirk priest in the thirteenth 
century in the following way : — 

(i.) He received ^lo annually for serving the cure at 
Channelkirk, and also supplying Lauder.* 

According to Adam Smith, ;^i in the twelfth century was 
equal to ^3 in his time.f In proportional or exchangeable 
value, this sum has been by some writers calculated much 
higher. Therefore, the least stipend which the priest of 
Channelkirk could have was of ;^30 value. This looks at 
first sight a small enough amount to satisfy even our modern 
starvationists. But in 1264 one could buy for ;^io, 20 chalders 
of barley; and a chalder of oatmeal (14 bolls) cost exactly 

* Liber de Driburgh^ passim. 

t Wealth of Nations^ chap, i., p. 2? 

London, Third Edition, 1784. 


^i.* This being the case, his stipend was worth far more to 
him in purchasing power than is the Channelkirk stipend at 
the present day, which is equal to 14 chalders " half barley, half 
oats." At that date he might have bought 10 chalders of 
oatmeal : an amount which should have kept the porridge- 
pot eloquent for some time. For it meant 140 bolls : surely 
a royal girnel-full ! Yet it was the staple food. 

But this was not all his " living." We must add to this 
amount (2.) his Vicarage Teinds. These were by no means 
the least part of the stipend. They were often superior to 
the rectorial or great teinds, and were drawn from hay, stock 
produce, lambs, calves, dairy and garden produce, and such 
like. And there was yet a more lucrative source of revenue. 
Professor Cosmo Innes says, "The large part of clerical 
emoluments came from offerings at Easter and other feasts, 
dues by marriage, baptisms, and, heaviest of all, funeral 
dues." t 

The stipend of Channelkirk, therefore, in the middle of 
the thirteenth century, was derived from the following 
sources : — 

1. Channelkirk and Lauder, ^10. 

2. Vicarage teinds, hay, dairy produce, garden do., stock do. 

3. Feast-offerings, marriage fees, baptism do., death do. 

The vicarage teinds and feast-offerings were in all 

likelihood by far the wealthier reservoirs. But if we 

reckon each of these only at the value of the stipend, which, 

independently of Lauder, he would have had as the vicar 

of Channelkirk, viz., 10 merks — for no vicar could have 

less — and rating the merk at 13s. 4d., this sum would 

mean ^6, 13s. 4d., or the value of nearly 14 chalders of 

* See Tytler's History of Scotland^ vol. ii. 
^ Leg. Ajitiq., Lect. iv., p. 161. 


barley. Doubling this amount gives us 28 chalders, and 
adding this to the former value of 20 chalders, we seem 
justified in assuming that the total stipend in 1268 would 
rise to something like 48 chalders of barley. The present 
stipend, as we have stated, is of the value of 14 chalders, 
half oats, half barley. Of course such preposterous affluence 
had to be purged from the priestly office. To our starva- 
tionist friends this condition of matters must appear to 
have been full of potential carnalities. The clergy, then, 
were indeed the almoners of the poor ; they were the only 
historians, lawyers, and doctors ; they were the chief legis- 
lators ; they were the best landlords ; they introduced 
agriculture and the arts. As a matter of local interest, if we 
are not mistaken, they were the founders of the Border wool 
trade. But their influence was also national. When the 
independence of Scotland was in jeopardy, it was they who 
stood side by side with Wallace when our aristocracy left 
him to his fate. They hid him ; they fed him ; they 
prayed for him ; they sent his foes to hell for him. They 
were zealous, earnest men ; eager for their country's welfare; 
open-handed, wide-hearted, with a religious creed far closer 
in touch with human sympathies than anything of that 
kind produced in Scotland since. And we believe it is 
astonishing to our starvationists that all these ameliorating 
and civilising influences should not have been amply carried 
forward and sustained on something equivalent to the 
modern stipend of ;^2C)0 a year. 

But however the facts of history may now be balanced, 
and whether or not we may trace to the affluence of the 
priests that immorality and debauchery which, for fifty 
years or thereby before the Reformation, disgraced their 
conduct, we may be allowed to believe that Channelkirk 


priest, at least, continued to wallow in the grossness of his 
48-chalder values until there came the ever-hallowed year 
of 1560, and cleanness of teeth for the ministers. The 
nobles were, of course, the chief starvationists of that time, 
and it must be admitted that they carried but their sancti- 
fying and purifying duties nobly and well. Our minister, 
indeed, was so purified in their furnace of refining that he 
etherealized away into space and became " a blessed ghost ! " 
The gain was immense ; for the minister of Lauder, besides 
officiating in his own church, also supplied Channelkirk and 
Bassendean ; and thus, instead of three stipends, one fed 
the three parishes with spiritual pemmican. Even for 
him, a little tightening of the belt helped to meekness, and 
when entire holiness was desired, the neck was stretched ! 

About 1567, Mr Ninian Borthuik gets his stipend from 
Lauder and Channelkirk to the extent of ;^40, "with the 
thryd of his prebendrye extending to xj lib, 2s. 2d. lob." 
For these two charges, that is, he was paid ;^5i, 2s. 2|d. 
Scots money. 

The same " Maister Niniane Borthuik, minister," appears 
to have also supplied " Bassenden " in the Merse, for 
which he received £66, 13s. 4d. Scots, "with the kirkland 
of Ersiltoun." * In 1576, the reader at Channelkirk received 
",^16, with the Kirkland, to be pait thairof the thrid of the 
vicarage, £^, lis, od."i* The reader's name is not given. 
Scott's Fasti gives his name as John Gibsoun, From 
£\6 to ;i^20, with or without Kirkland, was the usual 
stipend of a reader about this time. 

From 1560 till i6ii, fifty-one years, there was no minister 
in Channelkirk, and a brief sketch of the circumstances 

* Register of Ministers, Reiders^ etc. 

t Buik of Assignations of the Minis teris and Readars Stipendis. 


and of the men who directly influenced the condition of its 
stipend then, and until this day, may be permitted to fill 
up that space of time. 

Dryburgh Abbey, with other religious houses, was an- 
nexed to the Crown after the Reformation, and all the 
churches under it went with it. A liferent reservation was 
made, however, in favour of the commendator, David Erskine, 
who entered that office 1556. This reservation included 
the tithes, which kept Channelkirk emoluments in direct 
connection with the Abbey. As " modest and honest and 
shamefast " David was a prominent and influential political 
partisan of the reform party of his day, he found it more 
convenient to lease Channelkirk teinds, as did also the 
commendators immediately preceding him. 

Accordingly, about 1535, Cuthbert Cranstoune and Sir 
Robert Formane pay in rental to Dryburgh Abbey for the 
Kirk of Channelkirk £66, 13s. 4d. Scots (100 merks), and 
they continue to do so till the year 1560. Cuthbert 
Cranstoun vvas then resident in Thirlestane Mains, and 
seems to have been a quiet, inoffensive man, although his 
family were often wild and lawless in their behaviour. He 
was "prolocutor for pannale in the case of slaughter of 
Stevin Bromfield, laird of Grenelawdene, 1564." His son, 
John Cranstoun, in 1560, committed crimes of treason and 
leze majesty, but was pardoned in 1578 (Acts of Pari., iii., 109). 
John's sons, Thomas and John, were also, with many others, 
subject to a process of treason raised in 1592 in Parliament, 
and their posterity was disinherited. But in 1604 His Majesty 
restores to "his heines lovit Maister Thomas Cranstoun of 
Morestoun," and John Cranstoun, his brother germane, their 
" lyffes, landis, gudis," etc., and rehabilitates their posterity 
in their said rights. 



Alexander Cranstoun, mentioned below, is served heir 
to his father, Thomas Cranstoun of Morestoun, in Burn- 
castle, in Lauder, September 4, 1607. The same year he also 
holds Ernescleuch and Egrop, and in 1609 gets Birkensyde, 
as heir to Cuthbert Cranstoun.* 

Sir Robert Formane was doubtless a relative of Arch- 
bishop Andrew Forman, Superior of Dryburgh, during the 
reigns of James IV. and James V. About 15 12 he was 
Commendator of Dryburgh Abbey, resigned in 1506, and 
died in I522.-|- The Forman family was of Hatton, Berwick- 
shire, and Sir John Forman, brother of Andrew, married 
Helen Rutherford, one of the heiresses of Rutherford of 
Rutherford in Teviotdale, 

It appears that Cuthbert Cranstoun and Sir Robert 
Forman divided Channelkirk teinds between them in the 
lease. In subsequent leases, at least, the Cranstoun share 
was always a half of the teinds, and probably no more was 
ever held by that house. 

When the Reformation came, great changes took place 
in the payment of ministers, but as Channelkirk had no 
minister till 161 1, it is a clear inference that nearly all its 
emoluments went into the secular purse. 

In 1604, John, Earl of Mar, received from King James 
VI. a grant of Dryburgh Abbey, together with the Abbey 
of Cambuskenneth and the Priory of Inchmahome. The 
King afterwards erected Dryburgh into a temporal lordship 
and peerage, and on loth June 16 10 the Earl of Mar was 
created Lord Cardross. In 161 5 Lord Mar obtains another 
charter, in which we find the stipend of Chingilkirk set 
down at 300 libras (^300 Scots), or £2$ sterling. An 
augmentation must have been given a few years afterwards, 
* Retours. t Walcot's History. 


as we learn from what follows. In 1620 the King "concedes 
to Alexander Cranston of Morrestoun " (noticed above) " and 
to his heirs masculine and assigns whomsoever the lands 
of Burncastle, with holdings, etc., half the great tenths 
(garbales), the tenths of wool and lambs, rectorial and 
vicarage, of the Church and Parish of Chingilkirk (possessed 
by the said Alexander) in the bailiary of Lauderdale and 
sheriffdom of Berwick, which lands the same Alexander, 
and which tenths (sometime part of the lordship of Cardross) 
John, Earl of Marr, with consent of Henry Erskine, his 
second son . . . resigned ; and which tenths the King dis- 
solved from the said lordship and united to the said lands 
inseparably — being held in blench firm : Returning for the 
lands two pounds of pepper ; for the tenths, 40 shillings, 
as part of the blench firm due from the said lordship ; 
and relieving the said Earl of half the minister's stipend 
at the Church of Chingilkirk, extending to 250 merks, and 
from other burdens," etc. . . * 

The full stipend in 1620 must, therefore, have been 500 
merks. This was the minimum stipend which a minister 
might receive by the Act of Parliament of 1617, the 
maximum being 800 merks. Channelkirk stipend was thus, 
in curling phrase, " ower the hog," but no more. The " hog 
score" of the present time is ^200; and, indeed, a con- 
siderable amount of laborious " soopin," in bazaars and 
other pursey places is necessary to effect this merciful result. 
Principal John Cunningham notes that in 161 7, 500 merks 
was equal to 5 chalders of victual.-f- MacGeorge says : " At 
a period long after this (1595) the stipend of the first charge 
in Glasgow was 500 merks, equal, at that time, to only 

■'^ Great Seal. 

t History of Church of Scotland, vol. i., p. 502. Second Edition. 



£27, 15s. 6d."* The first charge of Glasgow and Chanhel- 
kirk were thus, as far as stipend is concerned, on an equal 
footing at one time ! 

The Kers of Morristoun subsequently succeeded the 
Cranstouns in Channelkirk teinds. 

Owing to the miserable condition into which the stipends 
of the ministers had fallen up till 1627, the King, on the 7th 
January of that year, issued a Commission to take the matter 
in hand, and have it settled once and for ever. Sub-Com- 
missions were established all over the country to value the 
teinds and otherwise assist the High Commission, and 
between 1627 and 1633, when Parliament sanctioned these 
proceedings and made them law, good solid work was done, 
which was intended for peace. The fifth part of the rental 
of the land was declared to be the value of the teind, and so 
much of this was apportioned to the minister as the Com- 
missioners of teinds thought sufficient. 

The High Commission was composed of prelates, nobles, 
barons, and burgesses, and the Sub-Commissions of the leading 
men in their districts. The Sub-Commission to the Presbytery, 
for Lauder district, and which adjudicated in Lauder Tolbooth 
on Channelkirk teinds and stipend, comprised, for example, 
such names as Raulf Ker, who was Moderator, Robert Lauder 
of that Ilk, William Pringall of Cortelferrie, William Crans- 
toun in Morristoun, Robert Pringle, and Hugh Bell, with 
Gilbert Murray, officer, and Charles Singileir (Sinclair) 
Dempster. The Sub-Commissioners, who were bound to 
know the district best, were inclined to rate the stipend 
lower than the High Commission, who seemed to view the 
case not so much as what would actually " keep the minister," 
as what was due to his profession and social position. That 
* The Church of Scotland^ vol. iv., p. 55. 



both were as scrimp as decency could permit proves that not 
the nobles alone were infected with the poverty-purity 
principle, but that the country lairds also were convinced 
of the salutary influence of poor stipends upon the morals 
of the Church. 

In 1627 the various " rowmes " in the parish (with their 
names modernized), paid as under : — 






I. Bowerhouses . 

300 merks 

100 merks 


2. CoUielaw .... 

500 merks 

TOO merks 

80 merks 

3. Over Howden . 

600 merks 


TOO merks 

4. Airhouse .... 

160 merks 



5. Threeburnford . 

i ^160 



6. Nether Hartside 

! 600 merks 

80 merks 

100 merks 

7. Glints . . . . 

500 merks 


icx) merks 

8, Over Hartside . 

300 merks 

20 merks 

40 merks 

9. Glengelt .... 

' 1000 merks 


100 merks 

10. Headshaw and Haugh . 

400 merks 

100 merks 


II. Midlie . . . . 

100 merks 

20 merks 


12. Fairnielies 

. 200 merks 


40 merks 

13. Kelphope . . . . 

1 300 merks 



14. Friarsknowes . 

' £^0 


10 merks 

15. Hazeldean . . 

200 merks 

20 merks 

40 merks 

16. Herniecleuch . 



20 merks 

17. Hillhouse 

400 merks 

50 merks 

50 merks 

18. Carfrae Mains . 

■ 500 merks 



19. Carfrae Mill 

300 merks 

40 merks 

20 merks 

20. Nether Howden 

1 600 merks 



21. Wiselaw Mill . 

, 100 merks 

10 merks 


22, Oxton .... 

900 merks 



23. Heriotshall 


50 merks 

10 merks 

24. Kirktonhill 

200 merks 

80 merks 

50 merks 

25. Kirkland of Kirkhaugh . 

' i:4o 

/8160 merks 
I plus ^520 

670 merks 

760 merks 

plus ^636 

plus ;^324 



Taking the Scots merk equal to is. i|d. sterling, and the 
Scots pound equal to is. 8d., the stock of the whole parish 
amounted to £\^2, 13s. 4d. sterling. 

The parsonage teind equalled a total of ;^90, 4s. SxV^* 

The vicarage teind amounted to ;^69, 4s. S/jd. sterling. 

The whole teind, parsonage and vicarage, of the parish, 
therefore, in 1627 amounted to ;^I59, 8s. iOx\d, sterling, 
according to the Rev. Henry Cockburn's statement. Of 
course, if he had pocketed the full teinds, as was his right, 
he would have been rolling in wealth, but his annual share 
was 500 merks, or £2^, 15s. 6d., and this sum deducted from. 
;^I59, 8s. lod., leaves ;^i3i, 13s. 4d., which went annually into 
the purses of the Titulars. The last-mentioned sum was, of 
course, the unexhausted or free teind, from which subsequent 
augmentations were drawn or extorted. 

The outcome of the valuations made by the High Com- 
mission about 1630-32 seem to have raised Channelkirk 
stipend .somewhat, and also fixed a rule of conversion. It 
is set forth in these words : " At Halirud house the 25 March 
1632 years. . . . Att which tyme, the valuation being 
perfectly closed and the kirk provided sufficiently, the saids 
Commissioners in presens of the sds parties compearand 
decerned the pryces of buying and selling of the parsonage 
teinds victuall within the said paroch (Ginglekirk) as follows, 
vizt., Price of ilk boll of bear, 5 lib. 6s. 8d. (;^5, 6s. 8d.), pryce 
of ilk boll of oats, 3 lib. money." * 

In 1 69 1 an augmentation was obtained, and we ascertain 

from the copy of both old and new stipend of that date, 

preserved by Rev. David Scott in his Minute-Book, of date 

175 1, that the old stipend, previous to 1 691, was ;^5i4, us. 6d. 

* Decreet of Locality, p. 139. 


Scots, or say ;^42, 17s. 6d. sterling. The minister had, as we 
have seen, ;^27, 15s. 6d. in 1627. About 1630-32 he seems to 
have received an augmentation equal to ;^I5 sterling, or 
thereby, raising the total stipend to thie above sum. An 
augmentation was again given in 1691, to the extent of 
;^93, 19s. Scots, or nearly £y, i6s. 8d. sterling. This, added 
to the sum already stated, reached ;^6o8, los. 6d. Scots, or 
about ;^50, 14s. sterling. To this money payment it appears 
there was added 2 stones of cheese, 6 bolls of bear, and 10 
bolls of oats.* 

The Rev. David Scott began his ministry in Channelkirk 
in 1752, and he notes that his first year's stipend, in- 
dependent of the above victual stipend, amounted only to 
;^543, IS. lod. Scots, instead of ;^6o8, los. 6d. The defect 
is alleged to have been due to non-payment by the Titular, 
Ker of Morieston,t of 100 merks {£66, 13s. 4d.), of which 
emolument Mr Scott either seems to have been ignorant 
and never claimed, or that his predecessor and he conjointly 
had never claimed, until forty years had passed, and it was 
lost by dereliction. In his days began the long wars of 
heritors against ministers, and heritors against heritors, 
over the poor skinny gorb of Channelkirk stipend, the dust 
and din of which did not die away till almost our own time. 
Such despicable and unseemly efforts on the part of our 
Scottish nobility and landowners over the meagre pittance 
which was allotted to men who have never been otherwise 
than useful and helpful to their country, have necessarily 
planted a deep and heartfelt resentment against them in 
thife bosom of the people, who naturally sympathise with 
the weaker side, and never fail to respect their ministers. 
_ It would be more than a wearisome task to narrate 
* Decreet of Locality, p. 234. f Ibid., p. 236. 



the long scandalous story of lawsuits, decernings, recallings, 
and processes without number, which embittered the lives 
of three ministers of Channelkirk successively. Necessity 
was laid upon the incumbents to procure the means of 
existence, owing to the continued rise of the social standards 
of living. The middle of last century saw great changes in 
Scotland, changes which began much earlier and were 
chiefly due to the rise of the industrial .spirit as compared 
with the theological spirit of the two preceding centuries. 
The Union of 1707 acted upon Scotland as the lifting of the 
sluice which levels the canal waters with those of the sea, 
and the disused, misused, and pent-up energies of the 
Scottish people rushed into new and ever-broadening 
channels of trading and manufacturing speculations. With 
England, with America, and the West Indies, Scotland 
for the first time could conduct something like business. 
Glasgow and all the towns of the West began to grow.* 
With such immense advances the manners and customs 
of all Scottish life underwent a complete transformation. 
Land cultivation, housing, dressing, feeding, everything 
to higher levels. The morning of social happiness dawned 
upon the people. But while all this was taking place, and 
rents rose, and prices of markets grew higher, and land- 
owners saw their exchequers filling, and an eager class of 
husbandmen carving new farms for them out of moors and 
wastes, making two farms where there was but one, the 
minister's .stipend remained unchanged, and he had to 
contend with a higher and* dearer style of living with the 
old dole of money. He had no less nominally — his .stipend 
as fixed was the same — but actually he was daily a poorer 
man, owing to his having to pay more for the neces.saries 

* See Buckle's History of Civilisation^ vol. iii., p. 179. 



and services of life. The rise of the national tide of 
prosperity rose above the rock he stood upon, and the logic 
of events clearly meant that unless the rock could also be 
heightened, he as minister must be swept into bankruptcy. 
David Scott saw this too plainly, but he bore it, and might 
have gone on to the end of his days in that way, if the 
effort to push him off his rock by the landowners had not 
fairly braced him to face the precincts of a law court in order 
to protect himself 

George Adinston came into Collielaw estate in 1757, 
hailing from Carcant in Heriot parish. He narrowly in- 
spected his teinds, and discovered that a few shillings more 
were paid out of his land than seemed right. He took the 
minister, and the titular, and the patron of Channelkirk 
to law. He gained his case, and the few shillings were 
struck off the minister's dole. This cost him dear, for the 
minister in 1778 raised a process of augmentation, and Mr 
Adinston found his case upset, and a bitter fight in the 
Court of Session before him to prove even his heritable 
right to his teinds. In 1779 Mr Scott "obtained a con- 
siderable augmentation, though in consequence of the 
different disputes amongst the heritors, the Locality was 
not adjusted until the 21st January 1789," that is, ten years 

It is perhaps necessary to explain that " Locality " here 
is a technical term meaning the allocation to each property 
in the parish of that exact proportion of stipend which is 
due from it to the minister. As property changes hands 
and is increased or diminished in area, confusion often arises 
as to the exact sum due from each landowner, and this 
appears to have been the cause of the misunderstanding 
in Collielaw case. It was, however, only typical of many 


other "cases" in the parish, all of which were disputed in 
the Court of Teinds. The confusion is well illustrated by 
the fact that the Teind Court changed its mind several times 
on ColHelaw dispute, and Mr Adinston was never sure 
whether his case was finally settled or not! In 1779 he 
was rated at £2^, 9s. 3d. Scots, plus 3 pecks, 3 lippies of 
bear, 3 pecks of oats, and ;i^i, is. 5d. additional money. 
But a Rectified Locality, made up on 6th February 1788, 
made his share £2^, 9s. 3d., plus i boll, i peck of bear, 3 
firlots, 2 pecks, i lippie of oats, and £^, i8s. 8d. additional. 
Never was there a better instance that " too many cooks 
spoil the broth." As already noted, when the King in 1627 
appointed a High Commission to look into the whole 
question of teinds, a Sub-Commission was also created. 
This Sub-Commission acted independently of the High 
Commission, and valued the teinds of a parish according to 
its own judgment, and the High Commission in many cases 
refused to accept its valuations. In ColHelaw case, the 
Sub-Commission valued the teinds at one amount, and the 
High Commission the year following valued them at another. 
Mr Adinston held by the Sub-Commission's valuation, and 
this was taken as a basis of settlement until the record of 
that of the High Commission was discovered. Then the 
Teind Court reversed its judgment, and decerned that the 
valuation of the Sub-Commission was null and void and 
wastepaper by the subsequent valuation of the High Com- 
mission, and although petition upon petition was brought 
before the Lords long after Collielaw had passed from Mr 
Adinston's hands (for the case was disputed from 1773 till 
1820, more than fifty years), the final decree of the Teind 
Court, of dates 8th December 18 19 and 8th March 1820, 
put the matter at rest on the valuation of the High Com- 


mission of 2nd July 163 1. This valuation was higher than 
that of the Sub-Commission. It was set down at 4 bolls 
of bear, 8 bolls of oats, and 12 lambs with wool, and at 
the last adjustment of the stipend in 1827 this amount is 
set down against Collielaw estate. 

As remarked, the Collielaw dispute is typical of many 
others which transpired during the incumbencies of David 
Scott, Thomas Murray, and John Brown. The heritors 
fought with each other and with the ministers, and well may 
the ministers who have followed them in the office feel 
grateful to their brethren for their valiant contest with these 
starvationists, for had they not endured the miseries of 
law courts, and done battle for the bare necessaries of life, 
the heritors to all appearance would have calmly seen the 
Church of Channelkirk rot into the soil, and its ministers 
along with it. Bowels of mercy in these grievous lawsuits 
are nowhere evident except in the law courts where one 
looks least to find them. Perhaps the Bench was more 
concerned to realise a common-sense estimate of what 
was due to the worldly position of a Christian gentleman, 
than to perpetuate a lean line of holy officials by the 
sanctified methods of diminished aliment. 

The same reason that urged pious David Scott to 
entrench himself on his bit of rock, and, if possible, build 
a kind of Stylites pillar on it to keep his head somewhat 
above starvation level, induced his successor, Mr Murray, 
to adopt the same policy. Lord Lauderdale had brought 
a process of reduction of Locality in 1789, and was success- 
ful in getting some of his allocated portion of stipend shifted 
on to the shoulders of some one else— Mr Borthwick we learn 
— and as a consequence a new scheme of Locality of Stipend 
was made out in 1793. In this year Mr Murray entered 




upon his ministry here, and thinking his feet too near the 
starvation water, he raised a new process of Augmentation 
and Locality, and on 20th May 1795 obtained his request 
to the extent of three chalders of victual, half meal, half 
bear, and ^32, 6s. 8d. Scots.* But various heritors hauled 
him through the Teind Court again and again, and when 
1808 came he was called to the highest Court of all, and left 
his Stylites pillar to be added to by his successor, Mr John 
Brown. All his days at Channelkirk manse must have 
been embittered with squabbles about his stipend. Burns 
laments the sad fate of him who " begs a brother of the 
earth to give him leave to toil ; " but surely his lot is harder 
who, having begged long for leave to toil, is further refused 
a competent wage for the labour he performs. 

In April 181 1 the Rev. John Brown took up the common 
cause which Rev. Thomas Murray had let fall in death. 
These lawsuits were much complicated by (i) the two 
separate valuations of the Sub-Commission and High Com- 
mission of 1627-31, use and wont having settled upon the 
one in'^one set of properties, and upon the other in the 
other set, and thus overpayments and underpayments of 
stipend were alleged ; and (2) by combinations or separations 
of properties since the time of such valuations. The latter 
set of circumstances, for example, produced confusion in the 
allocation of the teinds of Collielaw and Bowerhouse, Kirkton- 
hill and Over Hartside, Glengelt and Mountmill, Ugston 
as two halves belong to separate owners, and Ugston as 
connected with Heriotshall. The teinds of Channelkirk 
parish are frankly confessed by those who had to deal with 
them in the law processes of this and last centuries as about 
as puzzling a question of teinds as could well be imagined. 
* Locality, pp. 4 and 37, 


It constituted a veritable sword dance, where laceration 
rewarded the performer's lack of skill and agility. The 
bowels of mercy on the Bench were often, happily, a place 
of refuge for the poor incumbent. Mr Brown, however, was 
a heaven-born warrior, and while watching heritor combat 
with heritor, was not slow to carry his cause boldly against 
their united forces. In 1811 he brought a new process, 
the fifth of such since 1773, of Augmentation and Locality. 
But a feature of the case presented itself which Mr Murray 
had to face, and died trying to remedy. There were no 
funds for a further increase of stipend ! The bounty and 
blessing of the Stuart Kings, and of the Erskines, and the 
Cranstons, and the Commissioners, had fairly dried up ! The 
pillar of safety could no further be raised ! So, the first step 
in the new process of augmentation was to sist that process 
till the issue of a process of reduction could be effected, 
begun by Murray, and now to be carried on at Mr Brown's 
instance. This was accomplished on 17th January 1812. 
The reduction was favourable to the minister, and then, 
in 1 8 14, he resumed proceedings in the augmentation. Mr 
Murray's augmentation began with the last half of the crop 
and year of God 1793, and now Mr Brown's drew back to 
the crop and year of God 181 1. This Interlocutor of 
Augmentation was pronounced on 6th July 1814. Mr 
Brown's stipend was to be henceforth, "yearly, since syne 
and in time coming, fourteen chalders of victual, half meal, 
half barley, payable in money, according to the highest 
fiars prices of the county annually, with ten pounds sterling 
for furnishing the Communion elements." This judgment 
was petitioned against by heritors, and protests made, but it 
ultimately became the final judgment of the Court, and a 
final Locality was made out apportioning the amount 


among the heritors, and it remains the stipend to this 

We are now able to glance backwards and get a clearer 
view of the course of this Pactolus' stream of stipend, as it 
winds and widens in its golden affluence from the year 1567. 

Circa 1567. Ninian Borthuik serves Lauder and Channelkirk. Stipend 

= ;^5i, 28. 2id = ;^4, 5s. 3d. stg. approx., plus his Bassen- 

dean stipend. 
1615. Francis Collage (1615-1625) (Channelkirk only). Stipend, 

^300 Scots = j^25 sterling. 
1620. Francis Collage. Stipend = 5oo merks = ;^27, 15s. 6d. stg. 
1627. Henry Cogkburn (1625-50). Stipend = 500 merks = 

;^27, 15s. 6d. stg. Augmentation of ^15 stg. or thereby, 

probably about 1632. Stipend = ^42, 17s. 6d. 
1632-1691. (Henry Cogkburn : David Liddell : Walter Keith : 

Wm. Arrot). Stipend = ^514, us. 6d. Scots = 

^42, 17s. 6d. stg. 
1691. William Arrot (received into Presbyterianism from 
Prelacy). Augmentation of ^93, 19s. Scots = ^7, i6s. 

stg. Victual was also added. 

|';^6o8, IDS. 6d. Scots — ^^50, 14s. stg. approx., 

T,, . J ,. 2 stones of cheese, 

The stipend then ={,,,, , , 

^ ' 6 bolls of bear, 


1 10 

bolls of oats. 

The victual stipend was drawn from Nether Howden, 
Justicehall, Ogstoun, Mountmill, Kirktonhill, Hartside and 
Glengelt, " att the rate of 9 half fulls per boll, and all of infield 
corn." One stone of cheese came from Glengelt, and one from 

Lammermoor bear, per boll, in 1691 =8s. 

„ oats, „ „ =5s. I id.* 

Therefore, leaving out cheese, the total stipend was 
;^6i3, 17s. 8d. Scots. 

* Robert Ker's Report of the Agriculture of Berwickshire in 18 13. 



In 1699 the stipends of some of the parishes in and 
around Lauderdale stood as under : — 

Westruther ..... 1000 merks. 
Earlston ..... 1440 ,, 

Gordon ..... iioo „ 

Legerwood ..... 850 ,, 

Smailholm ..... 800 ,, 

Nenthorn ..... 973 ,, 

Lauder . . 5 chalders of victual and 400 ,, 

1752. Through loss of 100 merks by dereliction and other causes, 
the stipend of Channelkirk, in 1752, was, in money Scots, 
only ^543, is. iod. = ^45, 5s. iH- stg. 
1779. Rev. David Scott (1752-1792) obtained an augmentation in 
1779 of approximately ^14, is. 9d. stg. We get this 
result by deducting the augmentation obtained later by 
Mr Murray from the old stipend he held from Mr Scott. 
Stipend, therefore, in 1779 = .^59) 6s. ii|d. stg. 
1793. Rev. Thomas Murray (1793- 1808) had his stipend aug- 
mented in the year of his ordination to the sum of 
^65, 4s. lod. stg. It consisted of : — 

„ , or, 6 chalders victual, counting 16 bolls 

48 „ bear h • . , , 

" I m I chalder. 

24 „ oats j 

(2) ^600 Scots = ;^5o stg. ; and (3) ;{;6o Scots = ^5 stg. 
for Communion elements. The total was — 6 chalders 
victual plus ^55 stg. 
In 1795, meal was £1 Scots per boll (average taken of 10 years). 
„ bear (Lammermoor) was ;i^i, 9s. 4d. Scots per boll. 
„ oats „ „ ^i, 3s. 4d. „ „ * 

The actual price paid was probably much less, but on this 
basis Mr Murray's entire stipend now stood at £6s, 4s. lod. ; 
with the glebe value he might realise .^80, or thereby. It 
will be observed that the augmentations are, for the most 
part, from victual. 

1 8 14. Rev. John Brown (1809- 1828) obtained, in 18 14, an aug- 
mentation of 49 bolls, 2 pecks of meal, and 53 bolls, i 
peck, 3 lippies Of barley. 

His augmentation was to date from the crop and year of 
God 181 1, when he raised the summons, and the whole 
* Ker's Report, 181 3. 


stipend was declared to be 14 chalders of victual, half meal, 
half barley, payable in money, according to the highest fiars 
prices of the county annually, with ^10 sterling for furnishing 
the Communion elements. This was made into an interim 
Locality, and after petitions, protests, and new lawsuits on 
particular disputed teinds, the rectified Locality was finally 
made up on 20th February 1827. From 1776 "no final 
Locality had been in the parish." "Various interim schemes" 
had to do duty, and the minister dying in 1828, he may be 
said, like his two immediate predecessors, to have spent 
nearly all his years of ministry in Channelkirk bickering 
about his stipend. 

If the stipend were calculated on the Merse fiars prices 
instead of the Lammermoor, as we have done, it would 
amount to a few pounds more, as the Merse prices were 
invariably higher than the Lammermoor. But there is 
reason to believe that the option of the Merse fiars prices 
was not made legal to Channelkirk minister till 6th July 
1 8 14.* On that date the Court of Session "decerned and 
ordained " the stipend to be paid " according to the highest 
fiars prices of the county." The Rev. John Brown under- 
stood this to include the Merse prices in its scope, but Lord 
Tweeddale, Lord Lauderdale, Mr Borthwick, and Mr Somer- 
ville, petitioned against his view, and urged that to take 
Merse prices, which at that time were higher than Lammer- 
moor by seven and eight shillings, was unjust, and " contrary 
to the practice of all the parishes in Lauderdale? ^ We are 
happy to say that the bowels of mercy on the Bench once 
more sustained the minister's reading of the law. 

We now give a Table of Stipend of the year 1862, showing 
how the 14 chalders work out : — 

* Locality^ p. 28. t Ibid.^ p. 49. 









c ,.* 











n '3-' 




OS (M 








-t> >. 

o c3 



to c; 














«* nw 









O t- 











O 00 













O r1 









c^ irH> 













O 03 



-1< r-< 










1—* 1— t 

1— 1 

1— I 


-O .-H 








>-c (S 










<N O 





4> Oi 



<N IM 





'!d >> 

<i rt 




o o 








O r-l 






ii a 



(M O 








o lo 


















o . 






• CO 



































































"S . 











: t^ 






































































t ^ ^^ 







A ,1^ 






i -8 • 


o • 

o • 




3 . 

-4 tl! 











j3 c3 Jd 












w a 














T3 . 
-HKt 'O 

O Tj- 


o ^ 

O t^ 

(^ i-i 


m o 

in (/) 

bo bo 

P-i "* 




c3 in 

c J? 

■5 P c 

^ V *■> 

4J pi-^ 

js d -^ 

(J 13 

o <u 




C S 
1) .5 

.£ ^ *^ 

t^ _: C 

s s s 

o *-• 


































.C o 























1 £ 
i 5 



1 t 1 

C 3 ki 


O? -3 

g 1 

i ^. 

OQ •§ ^ 

§ s g 
O- € O" 


t- B t- 


■* 32 ■* aj 


00 2 

i <3 

3 O^ 'S " 



1 2 
c3 o 



i-s ^ 

5 a" fe a" 2 



** 1 

C E gx.E " 

1' |l^ ^-: lit 1 

£ S 


S S 

^ g H S S 


CO «o 

O 00 

•* 00 eo 


g s 

s s 

-t> 00 (M 00 

a 00 o CO 


O 00 

® O lO o 

00 00 


■* (N 







t>. ^N 


5? 00 



o> S 


a : •* oi 



rH ^- 

eo S 

00 (N 

a s §5 s 



o >o 


S> (N 

00 00 

■?" ^ ? 



00 IN 

o> o 


^-'-V-'-v.-^ • • 


i.i.%. . . 

«S £ rt • 

s ^ -g 

• • 

• 1 

ri"^.\' s 


^ 'S ■ ij! ■ rt "3 

• • 

• i3 


o. tH H -3 2 

S -J -1 - j 

w S . « s 

i 5E<i ^ - 


1 a 


• E 

. P 

73 C 

§ -a H - 

i i 

1 ^ 

3 ! 

o -E 
2 2 

2 . - ® .2 

Silvia li 


i-i IN 

00 ■><« 

O -^ 1- oo ci 

T3 -5 


>, i; « 

O "5 

bo O T3 o 

rt N C r< 

- ^^ '^ 
« (u 2 


rrt rt rt o 

> >^S?fc 

in JS 

o ^ 

i-i ^-^ T. >,« 

OJ <u 



o - 

Lb " 

"bo 2 

« c > 

'T3 l-J 

•T3 (U 


5 rt 

C ^3 

0) > 

^ o 

^ c 


^ « ° 
« o c (/. 
O 2 <u rt 

~ 0\ 4) 

1> O u 

rt O -5 2 


iJ c .S 

(i( c "i 


•5 >> 

c .2 
2 XI 

^3 2 

^ Q O 



The monthly Cess of Channelkirk (Scots money) 1750, A.D. 
(From Rev. David Scott's note-book). The same total is 
given in the Kirk Records as the monthly Cess in 1742: — 

From the Titular Morriestoun 




Carfrae Barony teind . 




Kelphope .... 




Hedshawe .... 




Nether Hartside 




Glints ..... 




Kirklandhill and Overhartside 



Mathie's h of Ogstoune 




Somervail's ^ of Ogstoune 







Overhouden and Airhouse 




Netherhowden and Glengelt . 




Heriotshall .... 







Overbourhouse . . . . 




























O (^ 













t>. "i- 






rt fO 





00 "^ u^eo 

H2 --S 

N 1^ 

00 t>x 


vO 1^ 

" 2 '* r? 

►H ON 




On « M 


cr)"-" vO NO 00 


« (S N rO 

<S^ HH M 













r>. ir> 









00 n N 00 

00 l^ 





N 00 -* •* 

2 ^ Z' Z 



t—t *— 1 


00 rO"<!l- « vO 

>- "^ fO 

n M 





. . 


= 1 . 

?^ .SJ 

« ^ 


CL rt >> 


2 en 1> <U 

^ 2 oJ > « 

-^1 ^ 

> (U <U rt 

4> o; 


OHZ p! 


S - 8 ^ 

p . 
3 t: 








« *j 





3 w 





























"^ NO 


" 2 





^ ir^ 


r^ m 





H —1 



CO o -* 


ON "^ 





\0 00 o 







00 t^ ►-. 












-« O ro 

« o 




tv U^ "- 

N w~> 



l-^ ro On 


« O^ 

>-H MH 


N 00 "^ 


(-> -^ 






vO Ov N 









^ — 

"^ M ro 


'* « 













o ^ 










w ro 



-s " ' ' 












<2 =: 

O tn iMlJS 













33 .5 (u 12 























a. _ 

^ ''3 




i2 o 









1— > 


















1 — . 

1 — . 





»r " 


j-T C 




H) o 






s ^ 











J3 ■ 






C/) o 

t4 o 







J3 (n 













Education, Priests, Protestants, and Acts of Parliament — Knox's Dream 
— First Glimpse of Channelkirk Schoolmaster — Nether Howden 
School — Patrick Anderson — Hugh Wilson — Carfraemill School — 
Andrew Vetch — John Lang — Cess for Schoolmaster's Salary — 
Lancelot Whale — Robert Neill — Channelkirk School and its 
Furnishings in 1760 — John M'Dougall — Removal of School to 
Oxton — Nichol Dodds — Alexander Denholm — Alexander Davidson 
— Henry Marshall Liddell. 

As early as 1496 the barons of Scotland were instructed to 
send their eldest sons to grammar schools at eight or nine 
years of age, and to keep them there until they had " perfect 
Latin." It is needless to say that the Roman Church 
previous to the Reformation kept the education of the people 
strictly in her own hands, just as her polity is the same 
to-day, and the priest was the medium of secular as well as 
of spiritual instruction. The Protestant Church was also as 
fervent in sustaining this scheme as was the Church of Rome, 
and has not relinquished it except under the strongest com- 
pulsion of law. 

In 1567, seven years after the Reformation, a law was 
passed placing the schools of the country on a reformed 
basis. Teachers, both public and private, had to be approved 
by the superintendents of the Church. In 1633 an Act of 
Privy Council enacted " that in every paroch of this kingdom 


a school be established, and a fit person appointed to the same, 
according to the choice of the bishop of the diocese," which 
was carried out by Act of Parliament in the same year. 
From which it is clear that Episcopalians were no less zealous 
than the Presbyterians in the matter of education. The 
latter came into power as a political force again, and so in 
1646 another Act insures that a school be founded " in 
every parish " by advice of Presbytery. The heritors, rsore- 
over, are to provide a commodious house for the school, and 
to modify a stipend to the schoolmaster, not less than 100 
merks, but not more than 200, or ranging roughly between 
^5, 6s. and ;^io, 12s. In the Act of 1658 it was enacted 
that the schoolmaster must not be a papist ; in that of 1690, 
schoolmasters were taken bound to sign the Confession of 
Faith, to take the oath of allegiance to King William and 
Queen Mary, to be pious and "of good and sufficient 
literature," and to submit to the government of the kirk. 
In the Act of 1693 schoolmasters were declared to be subject 
to the Presbytery within whose bounds they were resident. 
The Act of 1696 was important. It provided that a school 
should be in every parish, and a salary for the teacher, as in 
Act 1646, paid half-yearly, in addition to the casualties which 
belonged to the readers and clerks of kirk-sessions. Tenants 
were to relieve the heritors to the extent of half the expense 
of settling and maintaining the school and the schoolmaster's 

Again, in the Act of 1700, we find the religious element 
emphasized, for papists are proclaimed incapable of acting 
as schoolmasters. The frequency of the religious clause 
shows how zealously the Kirk guarded the education of the 
young, and especially their religious education in school. 
The Act of 1803 provided that salary should not be under 


3CXD merks Scots per annum, nor above 400 merks. The 
sum was to be fixed by the minister of the parish and the 
heritors, and at the termination of every twenty-five years 
the Sheriff had it in his power to determine the average 
price of a chalder of oatmeal, with a view to increasing, if 
it were necessary, the yearly allowance granted to the 

The Act of 1 86 1 comes next in importance, perhaps. 
The trend of the century is seen in the twelfth section, which 
declares it unnecessary for any schoolmaster to subscribe 
the Confession of Faith, or to profess that he will submit 
himself to the government and discipline of the Church of 
Scotland. His tenure of office is virtually admitted to be 
ad vitam aut culpam. 

A complete revolution arrived with the Act of 1872. The 
parochial system, so long an honourable one in Scotland, and 
which many yet regret, was abolished, and the system of School 
Boards by popular election set up in its place. All powers 
were vested in them ; and while the scholarship of the nation 
has not risen higher, the exasperation and friction between 
boards, teachers, parents, and ratepayers prove that neither 
has the sum of human happiness been augmented by the 

We turn now to what concerns us more particularly in 
the fortunes of education, and those responsible for the same 
in our own parish, during the post-Reformation period. 

It was long the proud boast of the parish schoolmaster 
that his pupils, when they passed forth from the village 
school, needed no " secondary " training in high schools or 
"colleges" to enable them to take front places in the 
universities. In the turbulent days of the Reformation, 
Knox and his coadjutors gave education the same place of 



importance which is almost universally assigned to religion 
and the poor, God's kirk ; God's poor ; God's bairns : the 
"ministers," the " puir," and the " schollis," are the prime 
objects of Knox's dream of reform. The nation was sunk 
in ignorance, poverty, and immorality. Sound knowledge, 
sound health, and sound doctrine alone could save it. And 
like Pharaoh and Herod, though for salvation and not 
destruction, Knox began at the cradle. It must always 
begin there to be a permanency. But Knox, like a true 
educator, had no design of dividing the school from the 
Church. The one prepared for the other, like apprentice- 
.ship for journeymanhood. Like Guyau, he was convinced 
that "the morality of the race, together with its health 
and vigour, must be the prirtcipal object of education. All 
else is secondary. Intellectual qualities, for example, and 
especially knowledge, learning, and information, are much 
less important to a race than its moral and physical vigour." * 
" All must be compelled," Knox declared, " to bring up 
their children in learnyng and virtue." " Off necessitie 
thairfore we judge it, that everie severall churche have a 
scholmaister appointed, suche a one as is able, at least, to 
teache grammer and the Latine toung y{ the town be of 
any reputatioun." " Yf it be Upaland," (in such places 
as remote as Channelkirk, for instance) " whaire the people 
convene to doctrine bot once in the weeke, then must 
eathir the Reidar or the Minister thair appointed take care 
over the children and youth of the parische, to instruct 
them in thair first rudiments, and especiallie in the cate- 
chisme," t that is, the Book of Common Order, the Shorter 
Catechism not yet having seen the light in Knox's day. 

* Education and Heredity, p. 96. 

f Knox's Works {The Biike of Discipline), vol. ii., pp. 209, 211. 


As no minister existed in Channelkirk for many a year 
after the Reformation, the double duties of " Reidar " in 
church and teacher in school would be performed by 'the 
same person. 

The earliest notice of schoolmaster, therefore, which we 
have in this parish, seems to be given under the year 1576, 
if we accept Dr Hew Scott's authority. * He is not 
mentioned, of course, under that designation, but as Reader, 
and his name is John Gibsoun. Nothing more is known of 
him, and we can only conjecture the career he fulfilled in 
that capacity from our general knowledge of his period. 
The church would naturally be the place of instruction as 
well as worship, and the course of education based for the 
chief part on religious lines. Readers had only £16 or 
;^20 of stipend, with kirklands. The greed of the nobles 
made sure that both teachers and taught should learn 
first by the things which they suffered, a policy which 
extended well into this present century. 

Our next glimpse of a veritable schoolmaster, whose 
occupation was apart from Church services, is in i654.'f- 
Whether he was Channelkirk schoolmaster, however, is 
problematical. "July 20, delivered to a lame schoolmaster 
recommended by the Presbytery, los. 66." is the legend 
of the kirk books. Teachers were often peripatetic, and 
taught here and there without continued residence or fixed 
salary, in common dwelling-houses, after working hours, 
with bed and board from some kind householder as 
remuneration. This " schoolmaster " may have been one of 
this description, although we have merely conjecture to guide 
us. We are on firmer ground when we reach 1657, three 
years later. There is no mistake ; it is " the schoolmaster," 
* Fas/i Ecclesiana ScoHcance. f Kirk Records. 


but his name is not given, though we do not quite despair, 
for there is reason to believe it is given in 1662. The first 
appearance of a system of instruction existing in Channel- 
kirk parish is as follows : — 

" 1657, Feby. 15. — Coll. 17s., qhilk was fully distribut to 
James Alan's two soons to pay their quarterly stipend to 
the schoolmaster." 

" 1657, April 19. — Collected 13s. 6d. Distribut fully to 
Will. Scott's child for paying the schoolmaster's quarterly 

The poor schoolmaster gets what he can quarterly, and 
its precarious nature is evident. 

The same year, in June 22, " having depursed to the 
schoolmaster four pounds." 

1658. "Feb. 14. — The week-days' collections kept by 
.... in Adam Somervell's hand did amount to three merks, 
which the minister, with consent of the elders, ordered to 
be given to the schoolmaster for 3 quarts, (payment). . . . Will. 
Scott's daughter and Adam (Swinton's) 2 children." The 
same year, in March 23, " 13s. given to the schoolmaster 
for Will. Scott's child's quarterly payment." 

The following defective sentence is interesting as 
seeming to point to the original Oxton School. 

" 1659. Adam Simmervell, boxkeeper, by warrant of the 
Sessione, depursed five pounds to Will. Milkum (Malcolm ?) 
in Nether hudoun (Nether Howden) for (hire of) a house . . . 
for the schollers to learn in." This school in Nether 
Howden seems to have existed at least till 1728. They 
proceeded to build a new school shortly afterwards, pre- 
sumably at Channelkirk village. On 25th November 1661, 
" The elders met and unanimously decided to pay the 
builder of the scole for that work." They seem to 


have had in view a schoolhouse also for the schoolmaster. 
The whole cost appears to have reached ^^50, but "the 
Sessione thinks fit, when occasion shall offer, to use means 
that the heritors may refund the formentioned fiftie pounds 
to the Sessione again." These were the days when Kirk- 
Sessions believed in miracles. 

1662, March 15. — "^5 given to the burser, and also. 
40s. given to the schoolmaster, together with the 23rd day's 
collection." It was Communion time, and the collections 
of the 15th, i6th, and 17th, together with that of the 23rd, 
appear to have been devoted to the Presbytery's bursar 
at the university, and the schoolmaster of the parish. The 
church, the university, and the school went thus hand in 
hand — just as it should be. 

The schoolmaster's name comes to light in 1662. After 
notice of certain moneys given out of the Kirk-Session 
treasury or " box," we have " the rest of the sum distribut 
to Patrick Anderson, schoolmaster, James Black, Wm. 
Somerville in Glengelt, and James Knight, Ugstone." 

1664. "The second of October, counted with Patrick 
Anderson, schoolmaster, that had the box and moneys 
therein committed to him from the first of November 
1663 to the 2nd of October 1664." Doubtless he was 
Session-clerk, but was not an elder. " The box is put in the 
custodie" of him once more, "and the key delivered to 
Thomas Thomson in Hizeldean to be keepit by him." 
The teacher had the box, and the former, not an elder, 
kept the key ; the division of responsibility in this way 
tending to the preservation of kirk property. 

Mr Patrick Anderson, schoolmaster of Channelkirk, 
vanishes out of the records "the second day of Julie" 1665, 
holding the same honourable post of kirk treasurer. A 


worthy man, doubtless. All that we know of him is 

The schoolmaster who follows Patrick Anderson seems 
to have been Hugh Wilson. Eighteen years elapse after 
1665 before he comes into the records, and even then 
he remains a very shadowy figure. In 1683, November 15, 
we have "given to schoolmaster ^5," and three entries 
below, " More to Hugh Wilson in Ugston £2" as if a 
reference were made to "the schoolmaster." Again, under 
1684, " Given to Hugh Wilson, in Ugston, £2',' is 
immediately followed by "More to the schoolmaster, £\r 
There is, however, in an old fragment of a single leaf, lovingly 
preserved among the records, two entries which appear to 
set our minds at ease on the matter. Several notices 
here and there are given of " poor scholars' payments 
quarterly;" then under 1727, "Poor scholars at Hew Wilson's 
school, ^5 " is given, which cannot, it seems to us, on 
reasonable grounds, refer to any other person than the 
" Hugh Wilson " of the former date, 1683. This implies 
that he had been schoolmaster for forty-four years. Another 
entry given in the same year of 1727 says: "To poor scholars 
at Netherhowden School, £6^' which takes us back at once 
to the year 1659, when the Kirk-Session gave Will. Milkum 
in Netherhowden £^ " for a house for scholars to learn in." 
Two distinct schools must have existed, therefore, in the parish 
at this period, viz., Hugh Wilson's "in Ugston" or Channel- 
kirk, the latter place most likely, and that at Nether Howden. 

The Scottish Parliament, in 1696, passed a law imposing 
upon heritors of every parish the duty of building a school 
and maintaining it, and also providing a salary for the 
schoolmaster. Needless to say, this law was frequently 
evaded. The schoolmaster would have fared but sparely if 


he had had no other means of living than accrued to him 
from his teaching. Kirk-Session contributions of a vary- 
ing kind, surveying farmer's fields, putting wills together, 
Session - clerk's remuneration, precentorships — these, and 
similar perquisites enabled him to live decently. The 
heritors seem to have shamefully traded upon his necessi- 
ties wherever they could venture it, and cut down his 
school salary, which alone they had any right to consider, 
to fit into these perquisites. The law compelled them to 
provide a- school and give a sufficient competence to a 
schoolmaster in every parish, but that burden was for most 
part shovelled into the laps of his perquisites, and what 
should have been to him comfortable advantages over and 
above his fixed salary, became sources of anxiety and worry, 
for he was never certain when his perquisites might fall 
away, and himself be left to the tender feeding of the 
heritors' poorhouse dole. The Kirk - Session seems to 
have looked primarily to the fact of education being carried 
on in the parish, and contributed to a school or the schools 
in it with equal hand, content if the good work were done. 
The school, therefore, which seems to have begun at Nether 
Howden about 1659, received its help from the church 
equally with the parish school at the village of Channelkirk. 
It is almost certain that as we find both schools existing in 
1728, the Nether Howden School gradually became Oxton 
School, and through varying fortunes and changing habita- 
tions, continued so to be until the School of Channelkirk 
merged into it, and it became the parish school in 1854. 
This seems evident, for after 1728 there is no more 
mention of "Nether Howden School," but from 1735 the 
new designation " Oxtoun School" comes frequently into 
view. There is also a natural reason why a school should 


have existed near or in Oxton for so long a time, apart 
from the parish school at Channelkirk village, for its 
centrality of population and easier access would recom- 
mend this course in the children's behalf. The same 
reasons apply to " Carfraemill School," which would be more 
convenient for the children of Carfrae, Hillhouse, and the 
places to the south of it than either Lauder or Oxton schools. 
" Carfrae Mill School " was a " Side-school or " subscription 
school," and Gordon Stewart was its schoolmaster some 
time before 1817.* He is then called " the late schoolmaster 
in Carfraemill." 

Hugh Wilson was succeeded by Andrew Vetch, but 
at what particular date we are unable to affirm. He is 
preserved from oblivion by a single reference in a sasine 
dated 23rd February 1725, given in favour of the Rev. 
Henry Home regarding his possession of Kelphope teinds. 
Vetch comes into the sasine as witness. "These things 
were done upon the grounds of the lands of Kelphope, 
betwixt the hours of three and four afternoon, day, month, 
year of God, and of His Majesty's reign as underwritten, 
before and in presence of John Henrysone of Kirklandhill, 
Andrew Vetch, schoolmaster in Channelkirk, George Hall, 
tennant in Kelphope, and James Miller, indweller, these 
witnesses." He is never anywhere again mentioned by 
name as far as we have been able to discover. In the 
kirk accounts from* May 1704 till 1741, there are items 
such as, " To the schoolmaster," " To the schoolmaster and 
beadle," but no name is given. The schoolmaster who 
follows Andrew Vetch is John Lang. He passes his trials 
before the Presbytery in 1742, and receives testimonials 
of his sufficiency, and in the same year the heritors meet 
to fix his salary at Channelkirk. 

* Heritors' Records. 



As the following extract from the Kirk Records gives 
us a clear view of this process, together with the parish's 
property divisions, and landowners in 1742, we give it in 
full :— 

"At Channelkirk this fifteenth day of October 1742 years, We, Mr 
Henry Home, Minr., Mr James Justice of Justicehall, William Henryson of 
Kirktounhill, being appointed to Divide and Locall a Sallary for the 
Schoolmaster, in terms of Act of Parliament 1696, unanimously agreed 
upon and modified by a full meting of the Heritors of this parish legally 
called for that effect upon the 23rd day of Sepr. last, and our School- 
master having produced an Extract of his being tryed and approven by 
the Presby. of the bounds, and finding that a month cess of the parish 
amounts to Seventy and five pound thirteen shilling and 4 penies, out of 
which Sixty and six pound thirteen shilling and four penies being de- 
duced there is of overplus nine pound, which is the eight part of the 
monthly cess of this parish : So that each Heritor is assesed and hereby 
appointed to pay seven parts of eight yearly of his months cess to the 
Schoolmaster for his Sallary, and is hereby Divided and Localled as 
follows : — 

1. Barony of Carfrae, belonging to the Marquis of Tweed- 

dale ...... 

2. Headshaw, belonging to Earl of Marchmont 

3. Kelphope, belonging to Mr Henry Home, Minr. 

4. Clints, belonging to John Borthwick of Crookstoun 

Advoc, ...... 

5. Justicehall, belonging to James Justice, a principal Clerk 

of Session ..... 

6. Over Howden, belonging to James Justice (Scots money) 

7. Airhouse & Oxton Mains, belonging to James Somer 

vaill ...... 

8. Collela, belonging to James Fiergrive 

g, Bourhouse, belonging to Charles Binning, Pilmuir, 
Advoc. ...... 

10. Threeburnford, belonging to John Gumming, Minr. at 
Humbie ...... 

Carry forward, 

£^9 3 2 
2 II 6 
2 10 4 

2 15 6. 

2 14 4 


2 16 6 

I . 8 10 
^46 8 10 

1 1 
















and four 


Brought forward, . ^46 8 10 

1 1. Glengelt and Netherhouden, belonging to Wm. Hunter's 

(Merchant in Edinburgh, deceased) Heirs 

12. Cardross Teinds, belonging to Ker of Morrieston 

13. Heriotshall, belonging to John Murray . 

14. Nether Hartsyde and Over Hartsyde, belonging to Alex. 

Dalziell ...... 

15. Kirktounhill, belonging to Wm. Henryson 

Amounting in all to Sixty and six pound thirteen shil 

Which yearly Sallary is to be payed to Mr John Lang, present school- 
master, at two terms in the year by equal proportions." 

The total is actually £66, 1 3s. 8d. 

The terms are Martinmas and Whitsunday, and the 
same arrangements are to hold good "to his successors in 
that office," on their producing sufficient testimonials from 
the Presbytery of the Bounds. 

Mr Lang is found Session-clerk in 1744; and again in 
I753> at a joint meeting of heritors and elders, and a com- 
mittee of Presbytery, he is chosen to the same office. The 
purpose of this meeting was to inquire into the administra- 
tion of the kirk funds, which, during far too many years 
of the Rev. Henry Home's incumbency, had been mis- 
appropriated to a considerable extent. 

"The Committee proceeded to inquire into the manage- 
ment of the poor's money since the death of Mr Home, 
which happened June i6th, 175 1, find that Mr John 
Lang, Schoolmaster of Channelkirk, had received," from 
various sources, the sum of ^95, lis. 3d. Lang is charged 
with this sum, and after deducting certain moneys they 
find him indebted to the Kirk- Session to the extent of 
£4.1, i6s. 3d. Scots. In the year 1754, on 20th May, at a 
meeting of Kirk-Session, " Mr Lang's bill this day granted 
and payable against Martinmas next for £'^0, los. 3d. 


Scots." But Martinmas comes and Martinmas goes and 
the bill remains unredeemed, and on lo March 1755 he 
dies, and his successor has written in the Records the 
following sibylline legend. (We omit the copperplate pen- 
manship and all the embroidery) : — 

March 10. Mr JoHN Lang 

Schoolm' Deceased 

A G 1 B— r & D r. 

We humbly interpret the last part to mean "A Great 
Beggar and Debtor," with reference, perhaps, to his having 
been unable to pay back the poor's money which he had 
used out of the kirk treasury. At the foot of this 
memorial, his successor in the same handwriting puts his 
name as — 

Lancelot Whale 


T '757 

Poor Lang had been hard pressed for the kirk money 
it seems. " George Sommervaill has Thomas Trotter's bill " 
(another delinquent !) " in his hand, and Mr Lang's bill 
was given to Mr Robert Henderson, writer in Lauder, to 
procure payment ! " It was jail for debt in those days, as 
Burns's father dreaded a few years later. But Lang was 
safe from all manner of law processes, though we find his 
bill carried on through the books till May 7, 1760. On 
that day we have it minuted, " The Session think it quite 
needless to carry on Trotter's and Lang's bills in their 


accounts, as it's not likely they will ever be paid." Not 
likely ! So Lang's debts sink into the tomb with his 
harassed bones, there to await the final account and 
reckoning of all. There are touching notes here and there 
concerning monthly donations given from the poor's box 
to his widow, Mrs Lang, till August 1757, when they, too, 
cease. As late, however, as 17th May 1759, four years 
after Lang's death, there is this suspicious entry — " Received 
from Mr Dalziel of Hartsyde for Mr John Lang, a year's 
salary." Can it be that this item, £6, had been held back 
or neglected in Lang's lifetime? Mrs Lang is receiving 
aliment in 1755, and it is only surrendered by Mr Dalziel 
in 1759, two years after she seems to have either died 
or left the district. Mr Dalziel may have suspicioned that 
Lang was keeping up the poor's money, and hesitated to 
give him more ! 

In such gloomy circumstances does John Lang, .school- 
master in Channelkirk, disappear from time. 

Lancelot Whale seems to have become his successor. 
His name is written very pompously on the Records, but 
extremely little more is recognisable of him. He gives 
his date as the 14th day of March 1757. There is no 
mention of his entering upon his duties, but the kirk 
accounts up till 7th x^ugust 1757 are clearly in his hand- 
writing, though the usual notice of moneys given to the 
teacher for " Session-clerk and poor scholars " keeps back 
his name. We have, however, the following — " 20th 
December 1758. To Lancelot Whale his dues preceding 
Martinmas last, £^" But on 5th March of the same year 
there is in different handwriting — " To an advertisement 
in ye news papers for a Schoolmaster, £2, 2s." This may 
mean a belated payment for the advertisement to which 


he himself responded. But it is more likely that he had 
left or was dead, as the school appears to be vacant. On 
4th March 1759, little more than a month after Poet 
Burns's birth be it observed, this remark occurs — " To 
George Henderson for presenting while we had no School- 
master, £^" Mr Whale had, as was customary, led the 
psalmody in the church. He thus seems to vanish alto- 
gether from the scene. Robert Niell succeeded. 

On the 28th May 1759 Robert Niell is Session-clerk, 
and receives of kirk money for the " poor scholars ' " educa- 
tion the usual sum of £4. 

Mr Niell is also precentor in the church : — " To the 
Schoolmaster for presenting, £2" is set down under 20th 
August 1759. He is married in June 1762, having had a 
new schoolhouse built previously, and, of course, a school 
also, which was usually a room within and above the school- premises. The following tells the tale : — 

" Channelkirk, Nov. 17th, 1760." Session meets and 
arranges poor's money. " After this Mr Scott " (Rev. 
David) " represented that upon his application to a 
general meeting of the heritors of this Parish of Channel- 
kirk held here on the 17th day of May 1759 years, they 
did then grant and allot ye Hundred merks of vacant 
salary that fell due at Martinmas 1758, for building a 
new .schoolhouse, and empowered Mr Scott to uplift said 
salary and find out a proper situation for the house. They recommended it to Mr Dalziell of Hartside and Mr 
Scott to meet with James Watherstone of Kirktounhill 
anent the stance of said house. Which accordingly being 
done, the said James Watherstone was prevailed on to 
gift to the Kirk-Session and Parish of Channelkirk that 
spot of ground for the stance of .said house lying immedi- 



ately on the west end of the yard presently possessed by 
the schoolmaster, and frankly consented that said school- 
house should be built, and stand there rent free in all 
time coming, the schoolmaster being only obliged to pay 
yearly one shilling sterling for said kail yard. In conse- 
quence of which the Session gratefully acknowledge their 
obligation for said gift, and order this to be insert in this 
day's Minute." 

Well done Kirktonhill Heritor ! one is delighted to find 
a green spot among such extensive waste land of Sahara 
Heritordom. The lOO merks lay conveniently to hand 
because no schoolmaster was in the parish to receive it. 
The schoolhouse and school had been, as usual, at the 
lowest condition of decay, dirt, and inhabitableness, but 
not a heritor would stir to mend matters till the parish 
suffered in its children's education for a season, and the 
little rill of grudged and compelled money from the heritor 
reservoirs dammed up into a dub big enough to float the 
village school and schoolhouse on. How pathetic the 
passionate gratitude of the Kirk - Session, too, for such 
unheard-of beneficence! But, alas, the loo merks, super- 
latively abundant as they were, came short in meeting the 
extensive wants of this village school. " The Session con- 
sidering that another table and two seats for the scholars 
would be wanting to furnish said schoolhouse ; and well 
knowing that the forsaid Hundred merks would not be 
sufficient to answer all these purposes, Did therefore resolve 
to supply what might be further necessary out of the 
remainder of the two months' cess mentioned as given in 
by Mr Scott in the foregoing minute ; that so useful a work 
and so conducive to the public good might not be re- 


The two months' cess had been asked by the Session from 
the heritors to relieve the poor with oats, meal, etc., " during 
the late scarcity " (minute of date 7th May 1760), but which 
fell short after all, and one heritor in Justicehall, Cunningham, 
writer to the Signet, ashamed, it appears, of the scrimp 
measure, gave a half-guinea out of his own pocket rather 
than see poor folk starve ! If we are not mistaken this 
" Cunningham " was Alex. Cunningham of Lathrisk, Fife- 
shire, third son of Ninian Cunningham, writer in Edinburgh. 
He died 17th August 1780. 

Good Rev. David Scott ! He strives hard to get his 
people's stomachs filled, and also pang them fu' o' knowledge. 
He feels, however, another strait place. " Mr Scott further 
represented that he had collected only the sum of sixty-five 
pds. two shillings and ten pennies Scots, there being a 
deficiency by the Titular's refusing to pay his part of the 
salary ever since its first erection into a legal salary." 
The Titular was Ker of Morreston, in Legerwood. But the 
minister continues the good work. " Mr Scott by ye help of 
the parish having carried on ye building of said schoolhouse, 
and it being now finished, did therefore lay ye whole 
charge before the Session amounting to the sum of one 
hundred and four pounds twelve shillings and six pennies 
Scots, including the price of ye table and two seats for- 

Here is the " furnishing " of a school in the middle of the 
last century. " At ye above date ye Session likewise thought 
proper to record that now there belong to ye schoolhouse two 
new tables, one of them measuring ten foot, and ye other 
eleven foot in length, as also two old seats measuring ten feet 
per piece, and two new seats measuring ten feet and a half per 
piece. Besides a good new lock and key for the door, and a pair 


of new tongs for ye hearth — and all ye glasses in the four 
windows are whole." Viewing the whole in table form 
we get : — 

2 tables, new combined length, 2 1 feet. 
2 seats, old, „ 20 „ 

2 „ new, „ 21 „ 

I new lock. 
I „ key. 
I pair of tongs. 

4 windows, or say "boles," i pane each ! and "all whole," thus 
bearing testimony to the boys' good behaviour then. 

Reckoning by the seat-room (the is about 
half), and allowing i foot, or thereby, to every scholar, we 
get an approximation of the number attending the school to 
be nearly forty. In such severe circumstances, and with such 
drawbacks without and within his little thatched school, 
Robert Niell continued to develop the intellect of the rising 
generation around him ; the Kirk - Session adding what 
driblet of help it could from kirk offerings for poor scholars 
to the cess laid on the heritors, and receiving for his own 
behoof a mite now and then for " presenting at the sacra- 
ment," he being a bit of a singer, no doubt. In December 
1770, he receives his last mention in an entry giving him £4. 
from the kirk treasury, " for Session-clerk and poor scholars," 
doubtless, and then in August 4, 1771, the minute: "To 
Margaret Niell for poor scholars and Session-clerk for half a 
year preceding Whitsunday 1771 years," tells the remainder 
of his history. He had been schoolmaster in Channelkirk for 
twelve years. How long his wife Margaret survived him 
we have now no means of knowing. 

In the year 1771, on the 29th day of March, at Channel- 
kirk : " The school in this place being just now vacant by 
the death of the late schoolmaster, it was therefore thought 
proper to take the usual steps for the election of another." 


Accordingly, the intimation from the pulpit " on the 17th 
day of this currt." calls a general meeting of the heritors — 
non-resident heritors, always a large quantity, being informed 
by letters. On the 29th " the heritors of the Parish of 
Channelkirk, and all others concerned being call'd at the 
most patent door of the kirk at one o'clock post meridiem — 
there compeared " three heritors and the minister and a few 
proxies, " and coming to the business," and " to a vote, 
unanimously made choice of John M'Dougal, the teacher 
of Mr Thomson's children and others in l^urnhouse," near 
Fountainhall, parish of Stow. Mr M'Dougal was well known 
to Mr Borthwick, Crookston, who could not attend the meet- 
ing for the distance, but who writes the minister to say that 
he looks upon John M'Dougal " to be a very discreet young 
man," and " hopes to hear of their fixing upon " him. 
Another meeting is called on the nth June 1772, to consider 
the repairing of school and schoolhouse. Tweeddale does not 
appear, nor Lauderdale, nor the lairds of Bowerhouse, nor 
Nether Howden, nor Marchmont, nor Threeburnford, nor " the 
rest," but " although the rest of the heritors did not subscribe 
the agreement, yet they paid their respective proportion of 
the three months' cess for the above reparations." It was the 
customary way. One or two did the " appointments " and 
thatching or patching, and the rest being comfortably out of 
the parish pocketing its rents, paid their share to have quit 
of the bother. What were a few hundreds of people, and a 
schoolmaster ? 

Worthy and " very discreet " John M'Dougal, therefore, 
walks on to the treadmill, and dutifully and patiently grinds 
out his scholars creditably to himself and the parish that 
owned them. A man for whom we have the highest respect. 
He has always the good of the children in view, and as we 



learn from an aged living authority, whose boyhood was 
directed by him, he was esteemed and loved by them. Born 
in 1743, he was a young man of twenty-eight when he 
became Channelkirk schoolmaster. He married Margaret 
Smibert, and had a family, and the routine duties of school, 
Session-clerk, heritor's clerk, etc., filled in an uneventful life 
till he reached the long age of eighty-six. His tombstone, 
which stands a few yards south-east from the church door, 
declares that he faithfully discharged the duties of his office 
for fifty-nine years. 

During such a prolonged official reign, several changes 
necessarily transpired, though none, perhaps, were of more 
than local interest. Both on account of the hill on which the 
school was built, and the long road which in winter could not 
be traversed by children, he had come to the conclusion that 
the removal of school and, of course, schoolhouse was im- 
perative for the good of the parish. Accordingly, on 9th 
October 1789, he desires the heritors, in a letter to them, to 
have these " removed to a more centrical and convenient 
place " (Oxton was in his mind, no doubt) " for accommodating 
the parishioners in sending their children to school." The 
heritors, by a majority, concur in the view, but decide 
nothing. Borthwick objects. The proposal naturally fell 
asleep for another six years. Mr M'Dougal's next move 
was both educational and pious. In the church, 14th May 
1 79 1, the heritors " being informed that said John M'Dougal 
has for some time past examined his scholars in the church 
publickly every Sabbath when there was sermon, and being 
willing to encourage such practice in stirring up emulation 
among children under his charge, do therefore order him ten 
shillings and sixpence sterling yearly after this date for his 
trouble, during his giving proper attention to said work and 


satisfaction to the residing heritors." A pleasant item 
this, and creditable to all parties. 

I" I795> the schoolmaster's plan to have the school 
shifted from Channelkirk down hill to Oxton village 
realised itself in a thoroughly practicable way. The 9th 
day of June of that year the heritors at a meeting " Did 
and hereby do resolve to change the situation of the school 
and schoolmaster's house from Channelkirk to Ugston, 
and resolved to take in plans upon that idea." Borthwick 
still protested. Six years of meditation had not staled 
his purpose. The school and schoolhouse were to be one 
building, the school on the basement and the schoolhouse 
in the upper storey, and the whole structure 28 ft, long, 
18 ft. wide, and 17 ft. high. It still stands in the village, 
and is now the schoolhouse, a new school having been built 
later in its neighbourhood and not in the best situation. 

Early in 1796 the schoolmaster must have removed to 
Ugston, He is in the old schoolhouse on 22nd January, 
but on 20th May declares himself satisfied in his ac- 
commodation respecting a school and schoolhouse. The 
schoolmaster's house at Channelkirk was sold to Borthwick, 
19th February 1796, for £\6 sterling. We presume its 
" stance," which Mr Watherstone, Kirktonhill, gifted in 1760 
to the Kirk-Session and Parish of Channelkirk, had been 
quietly swallowed down by the heritors in the good old way 
that most of Channelkirk kirklands were wolfed in earlier 
times. In 1803 an Act of Parliament stirs up heritors 
to " make better provision for the parochial schoolmasters," 
High time, too. Few important and national institutions 
have had a more disgraceful history. But until the national 
mind awoke and its voice became heard in Parliament, the 
people had no help from the upper powers, and so had to 


do its best with its handful of oatmeal. Mr M'Dougal 
had his salary fixed under this Act at 350 merks Scots. 
He must have been too happy. Actually ;^I9, 8s. lOy^gd. 
sterling annually ! Fancy a man undergoing the drudgery 
of school life with the weight of such wealth upon him. 
But this was not all. The school fees fairly flooded his 
" hugger." 

For reading . . .is. 6d. per quarter. 

„ reading and writing . . . 2s. 6d. „ 

„ reading, writing, and arithmetic . 3s. „ 

Perhaps he had, in all, ^50 sterling a year. Another 
school is mentioned in 181 8. One William Stirling, a boy, 
is on the Poor's Roll, and on ist May 18 18 is continued 
by the heritors " upon the understanding that he should 
immediately look out for a situation, and with the assurance 
that he would not on any account be continued longer upon 
the roll than till Martinmas first. The meeting, however, 
agreed that he might go to Mr Paterson's school, and get 
such education as Mr Paterson should be willing to teach 
him." Let little Willie Stirling take that ! But where " Mr 
Paterson's school might be — in Oxton, Nether Howden, or 
Carfraemill — it seems now impossible to say. Mr M'Dougal 
had his rivals, evidently. Perhaps it was a matter of 
indifference to him. The world was now becoming grey 
around him, and the shadows of age were casting their 
gloom over his path. The sad and tragic fate of his brother 
in Edinburgh must have deepened the waters of life for 
him, he having undergone the lethal extremity of the law. 
At anyrate, on the 30th April 18 19, he applies for an assist- 
ant, owing to age, infirmity, and late sickness. His letter of 
application, we are told, was " heard with deep regret." 


Heritors accept the inevitable and appoint an assistant. 
Mr M'Dougal receives the salary, house and garden, and 
the assistant is to get the school fees and the perquisites 
usual to schoolmasters, such as clerkships, precentorship, etc. 
Heritors "thank him for the great attention he has paid 
to all his duties as schoolmaster, heritors' and Session clerk, 
for these forty-eight years past." The school fees are also 
raised — these came out of the parishioners' pockets — in 
order to make " the situation," as it is graciously said, " as 
respectable as possible." The heritors make up other ten 
pounds to the fixed salary. The fees, to be paid in advance, 
were : — 

For English ..... 2s. per quarter. 
„ writing . . . . . 3s. „ 

„ arithmetic . . . .4s. „ 

„ Latin and French . . .6s. „ 

" To teache Grammer and the Latine toung yf the town 
be of any reputatioun," said Knox. Here we are to have 
not only Latin but French, and we are not a town but an 
ordinary village. It is a sure sign that the nation is 
awakening. It is 18 19. 

Eight candidates sit to be examined by the ministers 
for this assistantship, and Nichol Dodds from Edinburgh 
comes out victorious. He enters upon his duties, and is 
so successful that to contain the increase of scholars the 
schoolhouse is enlarged by the cubic area of an adjoining 
coalhouse which is then included, and a new coalhouse 
added on Dodd's suggestion. 

Years roll past, and Mr M'Dougal enjoys his otium cum 
dignitate till the iith day of October 1829, when we have 
in the Kirk Records, " Mortcloth for Mr M'Dougal, school- 
master, 6s," He died on Thursday, 1st of October, and 


was buried on Sunday the nth, having, as we have noticed, 
attained the advanced age of eighty-six. His wife survived 
him more than nine years, and died at Pathhead Ford, ist 
January 1839, having reached the great age of ninety-eight. 
A sturdy, thrifty, patient couple we can imagine them to 
have been, entertaining gods unaware Hke Philemon and 
Baucis, though denied their request at last. A contemporary 
informs us that M'Dougal was a notable personage in the 
parish. He was middle-sized, hard-featured, and wore his 
grey hair long behind. He always wore knee-breeches 
and rig-and-fur stockings, which came down over his shoes. 
He was an inveterate snuffer, and was often treated to 
an ounce by his scholars when they wished to mollify him. 
For he was a rather sharp disciplinarian, but a good teacher, 
though he had not " the langidges," and was warmly beloved 
by his pupils, old and young. A custom prevailed of 
" locking him out " of school on the " shortest day," which 
he accepted good-naturedly. One of the good old stock 
of parochial schoolmasters evidently, and in sympathetic 
touch with all sections of the community, yet neither op- 
pressively the dominie nor pompously the gentleman, 
carrying himself with respect in his school and esteem in 
his church, and making himself useful and necessary in 
both official and social spheres. 

His chair and ferula fell in due course to his assistant 
and successor, Mr Nichol Dodds. Mr Dodds' salary stood 
now at ;^30 sterling, and the school fees were to remain 
as fixed on 14th May 18 19. He was, it would appear, a 
native of Smailholm (born in 1793, and was twenty-six 
years old when he came first to Channelkirk), young, tall, 
and stoutly built. It is jokingly told that when he entered 
on his school duties, the then parish minister, the Rev. 


John Brown, commended him from the pulpit to the warm 
sympathies of the people. He was young, he is reported 
to have said, he was clever, and had all the gifts of a good 
teacher, but he was not sure if he was gifted with a big 
purse, and advised the people to be as kind to him as 
possible. He was notable as a capital teacher and a hard 
worker. He taught "the langidges," and was very strict 
in discipline. From a boy, like Samuel, he had been set 
apart by his mother for the ministry. The woman was 
worthy to have such a noble purpose. Her husband was 
killed by the fall of a tree just at the time when her son 
was born, and with a lion's heart she faced the struggle that 
lay before her in bringing up her family. She did this, 
as many a Scotch mother has done it before and since, by 
her own hard work, tending her garden and cow, her churn 
and her poultry, and driving her " shelty " herself to Kelso 
from Smailholm with the produce. Alas ! at the end 
of it all was disappointment too, as the humble exchequer 
did not prove equal to a minister's curriculum, and so 
the son was devoted instead to the teaching profession. 
Perhaps the knowledge of this had something to do with 
that sternness in him which almost reached the level of 
harshness on occasions. But he accepted his lot, went 
through the usual training, settled in Channelkirk parish, 
as we have seen, and remembering his mother's devotion, 
brought her to his house in Oxton village to keep his home 
for him, — no wife, it appears, having ever been thought of. 
There the stream of life carried them forward, through deep 
and shallow, calm and storm, till all ended, and the shadows 
shut them in for ever. 

We gather from a Presbytery examination of the school 
on 2nd September 1823, that "seventy-five children were 


present, the average number attending the school being 
eighty-five ; that the branches taught are English, Writing, 
Arithmetic, Practical Mathematics, and Latin." 

The old custom of "locking out the maister on the 
shortest day " he rather resented, and a " scene " between 
him and his "big" scholars on that account is yet re- 
membered with mixed feelings. Saturday "half-day" was 
" revisal day," and usually the hardest of the week. On 
one occasion one of the scholars was " kept in " for not 
giving satisfaction, and as the teacher lived above the 
school and the rest of the scholars played in its immediate 
vicinity, after an horur or two, a natural desire was ex- 
pressed by a few to " gang roond tae the back " to see how 
it fared with the prisoner. On going round, the prisoner 
was seen suspended, half in, half out, over the window-sill, 
he having attempted to escape, liberty being sweet, but had 
found himself caught by the down-coming sash, and so hung 
with his head and hands within and his body without. He 
would certainly have soon died, and was only rescued 
in time. He left the school for good. 

Dodds seems to have been a " religious " man, and an 
elder, though he liked a glass of toddy in the old-fashioned 
way. He was never married. He did a good deal of the 
farmers' business after school hours, and was much in 
company with them. His portrait gives his personal 
appearance as in harmony with all we know of his character. 
A man of middle height, clad in immaculate though not 
uncreased broadcloth, with clear, piercing, rather small 
eyes, lofty forehead, with the scant locks of hair curved 
forward over each ear ; firm shut lips, following, nevertheless, 
Hogarth's line of beauty ; strong cheekbones, prominent 
enough to cast shadows beneath them and over the 


melancholy droop of the lips below ; a rugged Roman 
nose indicative of much, and a chin like the peak of a 
Phrygian cap turned upwards, as if making reconnaissance 
of it. Not a hair is anywhere visible on the face, eyebrows 
and eyelashes excepted, and the whole head is poised upon 
a prim stand-up collar, with its strength of starch still further 
strengthened by a band of black silk neckerchief, whose 
carefully-tied knot is somewhat awry. His whole appear- 
ance is formal in tone, as if he were conscious of his dignity, 
and the mouth has just that rigidity of aspect which is 
thoroughly Scotch, and which, it is said, is acquired by too 
much inward brooding over the solemnities of life, and 
especially the Sabbath day, and repeating too often the 
Shorter Catechism. 

While in Oxton his peculiarities did not escape ob- 
servation. As precentor in the parish church, it was noted 
that he had great facility of musical improvisation, and with 
" Coleshill " as his theme or " motif," could stretch its notes, 
prolonged or abbreviated, over every kind of verse in psalm 
or paraphrase. To a precentor with limited selection of 
tunes this is a saving gift, and dexterously enables him to 
surmount obstacles, turn corners, or bridge gulfs, which to a 
man of less genius prove fatal. Mr Dodds' gift of prayer 
was also much admired. His foes declared, however, that 
a little stimulus of aqua vitcB was necessary to sustain 
or rouse the full unctuous "flow." He always upheld the 
now almost obsolete custom of family worship at night. 
But stern in principle, he was also stern in manner, and 
it became awkward when, just at " prayer-time," he would 
drop ofif into a sound snooze by the fire. There sat the 
"congregation," patiently waiting till he was pleased to 
awaken, no one daring to disturb his repose, though all the 


younger members were nodding to be in bed. For we must 
explain that besides his mother, his young nephew, after- 
wards Mr Dodds, teacher in Gordon, and others stayed 
under his roof, and received their education from him. 

The event of his Oxton career was when the year of 1 843 
gave the Scottish Kirk a " shog," and rent a large portion of 
its membership after the Free Church. He became a strong 
Disruptionist, and gave practical illustration of it by severing 
himself from the parish church. This, of course, was tanta- 
mount to rending himself from his place as parish school- 
master, and from the various perquisites which it yielded. He 
had been Session-clerk since 1823, and had acted as an elder 
since 1829, although not properly ordained till 1833. He 
was very anxious, in 1837, that the parish should be divided 
into elders' " districts," so that each elder might superintend 
his portion of church members and " use means to induce the 
people to attend the church more regularly," but got no 
support. But on 5th November 1843, he himself is declared 
to have stayed away from church " for some months," and 
loses thereby the post of Session-clerk. A more serious loss, 
however, was pending. " At Lauder, the 2nd day of April 
1844 years, which day and place the Presbytery of Lauder 
being met and constituted with prayer — inter alia — Mr 
Dodds, schoolmaster of the parish of Channelkirk, having 
been summoned apud acta at the meeting of 5th December 
last to attend the meeting of Presbytery in April ; compeared 
personally, and also by Mr Cunningham as his agent ; being 
asked if he was a member of the Established Church — 
made answer that he declined to answer that question ; 
being further asked if he was a member of any other church 
— declined to answer that question ; being further asked if he 
adhered to his former declaration that he would not sign 


the formula of the Church of Scotland without explanation — 
declines again to sign the formula, seeing there was no law 
requiring him to do so. The Presbytery having considered 
this painful case, find that Mr Dodds, by his refusal to sign 
the formula of the Church of Scotland, has disqualified himself 
from holding the office of parochial schoolmaster of the parish 
of Channelkirk, and hereby declare accordingly that the said 
office is vacant from this date, and appoint the minister of 
the parish to intimate the same in the parish kirk next Lord's 

And so poor Mr Dodds was cut adrift from his means of 
livelihood and his status as schoolmaster. To fall among 
the wheels of the ecclesiastical Juggernaut is to be crushed 
to death. The laws of churches are nearly all begotten of 
bigotry, nursed in intolerance, and administered in spite. 
Few of them but have passed, or are passing, through the 
cycle of pious power, sanctimonious tyranny, and con- 
temptuous expulsion and disgrace. It will never be other- 
wise until a legal training is given to those who would 
usurp a legal authority over others. The root principle 
assumed in Church law is " compel them," and the purpose 
is not that they may " come in," but that they may go out. 
The ideal wheels round with Eden's sword. Dodds was only 
a little in advance of the age which saw education lifted 
above the sandy bickerings of Presbyteries, and one regrets 
that he and so many others should have had to suffer so 
much in temporalities to satisfy the cruel maw of so-called 
spirituals. But a vast deal must be endured to reverence 
formulas, God wot! 

In the year previous, his school and schoolhouse had 
been insured against fire for ^200. It is a pity the ecclesi- 
astical fires cannot be insured against also. Nevertheless, 


although he was thrust out, he did not lose heart. Calmly 
he set to work and manfully built a new school for himself 
in the village — the same building which is yet used as a 
storeroom by the principal grocer — and being a first-class 
teacher, he drew away almost all the children, and left the 
parish school rather high and dry for many a day. In 
1853 we find him far from being rooted out of Channel- 
kirk ; rather he roots himself more deeply in it, for in August 
4th of that year we find him (Sasines, 569) seised in " 5000 
square feet of the lands of Heriotshall, on the north side of 
the road from Ugston to Wideopen Common — on feu-contract 
between Rev. T. Murray and Andrew Reid Smith, Ugston, 
March 24th, 1848, and Disp. and Assig. by him, June 5th, 
1848." A man who compelled his circumstances, evidently, 
and was not driven before them. A brave, enduring man. 
All honour to him. The sturdiness and self-reliance of the 
Scotch nature were strong in him, — albeit, also, the old Celtic 
heat and impetuosity ; but so long as the steam drives in the 
right direction we do not despise the steam. He continued 
to thrive till the end of his days. He joined the Free Kirk 
of Lauder, was an elder and Session-clerk in that denomina- 
tion, and died 2nd May 1863. The Records of that church 
say : — "At Lauder, 17th May 1863 years. — The Kirk-Session 
record their deep regret at the somewhat sudden and unex- 
pected death of Mr Nichol Dodds, on the second day of this 
month. They record the high estimation in which he was 
held, for the simplicity of his character and great Christian 
worth. He was the last of the Disruption elders who 
belonged to this Session." So another good man passed to 
his rest, and the echo of his worth yet sounds in Channel- 
kirk parish. A man, truly, who carried his head and heart 
above the level of bread and butter, and deemed it better to 


suffer in his social and official comforts than bear the inward 
snubs of an accusing conscience. As to the lasting wisdom 
of the movement which whirled him upwards — or downwards 
— on its wings, we have no remark to make, but the worth 
of Nichol Dodds remains all the same, and his humble 
mission in Channelkirk had a special value beyond the 
area of his schoolroom, and adds new lustre to the character 
of its schoolmasters. He was buried in Smailholm church- 
yard, and his tombstone notes that he was aged 70, and was 
forty-four years a zealous and successful teacher in Channel- 

The school which was begun by Nichol Dodds, and which 
was known as the " Free Kirk School," or locally, the " Side- 
School," was carried on after his death by Alexander Den- 
holm. He was born at Tynemount, in the parish of 
Ormiston, Haddingtonshire, on the 26th September 1842. 
He was educated at the Free School, Ormiston, and went 
from there to the Free Church Training College, Edinburgh, 
on January 1863. He married Margaret Edgar in Tranent 
— born at Greendykes, Gladsmuir, September 1865 — and 
shortly after came to Oxton Free Church School. He did 
not teach many years there, and left Oxton to take up resi- 
dence in Hillhouse as shepherd. He died on 14th December 
1895, regretted by all the parish, and is buried in Channel- 
kirk churchyard. A most lovable man, genial and hearty 
in all his ways, a fine singer, a faithful servant and a staunch 
Christian, and interested himself in all that concerned the 
well-being of the parish. 

When Nichol Dodds was deposed in 1844, he was 
succeeded in the parish school by Alexander Davidson. 
We believe he was a native of Sprouston, having been born 
there in 181 2, and he obtained the situation in Channelkirk 



in competition with other three candidates. He had been a 
teacher for some time in Mowhaugh, and was 32 years of 
age when he came to us. He does not seem to have been 
so markedly " religious " in his ways as his predecessor, but 
was a good man notwithstanding. He was never married. 
He was a keen fisher, and every opportunity was embraced 
in summer nights to ply the gentle craft. Not being very 
robust, the habit was not always in his favour, as he was 
consumptively disposed, and ultimately succumbed to phthisis. 
He is remembered as a strict disciplinarian, but had " ways " 
of getting the scholars into proficiency. A new school was 
built in his time. 

The Presbytery, in 1847, respectfully drew the attention 
of heritors to the necessity for a " suitable building " for 
educational purposes. In the usual way the building was 
allowed to lapse into a wretched condition, and heritors were 
indifferent till cajoled into taking cognisance of it. But six 
years between a proposal and the action taken upon it is 
not an uncommon occurrence in Channelkirk. So it was not 
till 1853 that the heritors, having examined the building, 
naively acknowledge that "the schoolroom is at present in 
a state of considerable disrepair ; the floor, internal fittings, 
and windows are all in a dilapidated condition." The ceiling 
is 7 ft. 7 in., and far too low. The schoolhouse is confessed 
to be damp also. Therefore, with some grudgings and 
protests, it is agreed to build a new school, and turn the old 
one into a more commodious residence for the schoolmaster. 
Consequently, the stance on the Bowknowe — the present 
site — was procured, and a school begun. It was unfinished 
in the last days of December of 1854, to the heritors' 

Considering, also, that the price of the chalder had fallen 


for some time back, and thereby Mr Davidson's salary had 
suffered, it was decreed that he receive the maximum allow- 
ance of two chalders of meal, with a small compensation of 
money sufficient to level it up to the ^^30 sterling. But this 
arrangement was then upset by a new Act of Parliament anent 
the salaries of parochial schoolmasters, though not till 24th 
October 1859 was it known that the schoolmaster was to 
receive £^4, 4s. 4d. — the odd pounds being compensation in 
respect that the garden ground was less than the statutory 
extent. A great deal of interest in schools and schoolmasters 
must have been felt at this time in Parliament, and another 
Act moved the salaries in the right direction in 1861. On 
the 2nd November 1861, heritors "after due deliberation 
resolve to fix the schoolmaster's salary, in terms of the above 
recited Act (24 and 25 Vict. cap. 107), at the sum of ;^40." 
This may have pleased the heritors, but it did not satisfy 
the minister, Mr Rutherford. On 12th February 1863, the 
heritors meet to consider among other things " the following 
report of the parish school made by the late minister of this 
parish to the Lord Advocate — * The school is, and has been 
ever since the present teacher was appointed, very well 
taught, and he ought to have the encouragement of a 
higher rate of salary than that which has been fixed b}' 
the heritors.'" The minister died in 1862, and this must 
have been among his last acts. The heritors, however, say 
not a word of all they considered. 

The barometric pressure on heritors still continued in 
the .schoolmaster's interest till, in 1864, ^^ Davidson's salary 
was raised to £^0. With a new school to enter in 1855, and 
a new schoolhouse somewhat later (albeit the old schoolhouse 
had just absorbed the school below it), and his salary at ;^50, 
the schoolmaster must be looked upon as then a prosperous 


man. All this luxury was not enjoyed long, for in 1866, on 
the 29th April, he paid the debt of nature in his fifty-fifth 
year, and passed from Channelkirk school for ever. He was 
an elder in the parish church from 1845, ^^^ seems to have 
been highly esteemed by the minister and congregation. He 
sleeps in Channelkirk churchyard, where his tombstone still 
preserves his memorial. 

The schoolmaster who came in his room is the present 
official, Henry Marshall Liddell. 

Mr Liddell was born at Strathloanhead, in the parish of 
Torphichen, Linlithgowshire, on 27th January 1839, and was 
educated at the parish school there ; he afterwards studied at 
the Church of Scotland Training College, and at Edinburgh 
University. He holds a first-class certificate from the Educa- 
tion Department. The degree of Fellow of the Educational 
Institute of Scotland was conferred on him in 1871. 

At a very early age he started teaching, and was suc- 
cessively in charge of four other schools previous to his 
appointment to Channelkirk, which took place on 2nd July 
1 866. He has been teacher here for thirty-three years. He 
has always taken an interest in educational matters, and has 
been secretary of the Lauderdale Local Association of the 
Educational Institute since its formation in 1877. He was 
elected a member for three years of the General Committee 
of Management of the Institute for the South-eastern 
Counties, and was president of the Burgh and Parochial 
Schoolmasters Association in 1898-99. During his residence 
in this parish, he has filled the various offices which usually 
supplement that of teaching, viz., — poor inspector, rates 
collector, registrar, and heritors' clerk. He was also Session- 
clerk from 1867 to 1875, and again from 1885 to 1895. 
Since 1872, when the School Board system was instituted. 


he has been clerk and treasurer to the School .Board of 
Channelkirk. He is secretary and treasurer to the Oxton 
Bovial Society, and held the presidentship of the same for 
sixteen years. From this Society, and from his pupils and 
friends in the parish at various times, he has been the 
recipient of valuable gifts. He is married and has family. 

Mr Liddell is much esteemed in the parish, is kind and 
obliging, is a good " business man," drills his scholars well, 
and is most exemplary in his attendance at church. 

The number of scholars enrolled in 1890 varied between 
120 and 130 : in 1898, between 90 and 100. The children in 
general are cleanly and well-dressed, but timid in manner, 
and give their answers, if at all, in monosyllables. The 
external evidences of politeness, as in most rural districts, 
are nil, but the children are not on that account rude. On 
the contrar}-, the blate smile and hanging head are to us far 
more eloquent of respect than the straight neck and the 
" cap " or " kirtsey," and perhaps more sincere. A number 
of children go from Oxton to the school at Lauder, and a few 
are taught privately. 




The Name, Origin, Meaning, and History — The Proprietors — Oxton 
"Territory" — Kelso Abbey — The Abernethies — The Setons — Home 
of Herniecleuch — Ugston and Lyleston — Heriots of Trabrown — The 
Templar Lands of Ugston — James Cheyne — James Achieson — 
Division of Ugston Lands — Wideopen Common— Inhabitants of 
Oxton — Trades in 1794 and in 1900 — Gentry, Tradesmen, Merchants, 
etc., in 1825 and in 1866 — Oxton Church — Societies. 

Oxton village is the only considerable centre of population 
in this parish. It lies in the form of a cross along the two 
roads whose intersection at its heart shows that they must 
have practically directed its conformation. It is a pleasant, 
sequestered little place, 21 miles from Edinburgh and 4I from 
Lauder. Situated on the right bank of one of the tributaries 
of the Leader, commonly called Mountmill Burn, but formerly 
" Arras Water," it contains 1 54 inhabitants. It never can 
have been large, though its prospects in this respect are 
now brighter. If it be regarded as the central feature in the 
landscape, and taken with a mile radius, it is seen to be 
picturesquely environed by Airhouse Hill on the west, Soutra 
and Headshaw Hills on the north, the Fells of Carfrae on the 
east, with the beautiful expanding valley of the Leader 
stretching away towards the south. When the springtime 
brings the opening bud and the sportive lamb, or when 

OXTON 355 

autumn brightens the natural pensiveness of the Lammer- 
moors with purple heather and sweeping uplands of waving 
corn, it were difficult, perhaps, to imagine a more peaceful 
scene than that in which it reposes. 

It would appear that " Oxton " as a place-name came into 
regular use about the middle of the present century. Ugston 
is the name which is commonly found in the Parish and other 
Records, and on the tombstones in the churchyard ; and it 
seems to have been the general form of it for several hundred 
years. It must be kept quite distinct from the " Uxtoun " of 
Font's map and the Exchequer Rolls, near the Braid Hills, 
Edinburgh, and which now appears to be called " Buckstone " ; 
and also from the " Oxtoun," or Ugston, in Haddington district. 
The Rev. James Rutherford, minister of the parish, writing in 
1834 for .the New Statistical Account of Scotland, .says that 
Oxton was frequently set down as Agston. We have never 
met it in this dress save in his own pages. But it points to 
the fact of change being at work in its spelling at that time. 
In the " Roll of the Male Heads of Families," the parish 
schoolmaster, who was also Session-clerk, puts it down in 
1837 as Ugston. Uxton as a variant is sometimes met with, 
but in the Exchequer Rolls, the Great Seal, the Retours, the 
Sasines, and similar sources, the name appears as Ugstoutt, 
Ugstone, Uggistoune, and such like approximations. 

The Rev. Henry Cockburne, minister of the parish in 
1627, declares that there are "twa husband landis in 
Huxtoun " which are kirk lands. He also writes it 
Huxstoun. But the " Ugston " model is most general, 
although we find it as Uxtoun on Font's map in Blaeu's 
Atlas. King James III., for example, at Edinburgh, as far 
back as 1464, confirms to Sir William Abernethy in 
Rothymay, among many other lands, " the lands of Lilestoun 


and Ugistoune." It appears occasionally in such deeds as 
" the barony of Ugistoune," or " the territory of Ugistoune." 

When we leave secular ground and enter the ecclesiastical 
domain, we find that the name undergoes astonishing 

In the Liber S. Marie de Drybtirgh, Charter No. 292, 
which refers to the lands held in the interests of the diocese 
of St Andrews, the following passage occurs : — " And the 
tenths of the Mill of Newton and Nenthorn, and two marks 
by gift of Sir William Abernethy from the Mill of Wlkeston." 
This " Wlkeston " is our Ugston, or Oxton. The charter is 
dated circa A.D. 1300. 

We get from the monks of Dryburgh the forms Wlkeston, 
Ulkeston, and Vlkylyston. Their brethren, the monks of 
Kelso Abbey, seem to have been even fonder of va|;ying the 
spelling, and, singularly enough, came closer also to the 
original form. The reason why Oxton is mentioned in their 
Register is because Kelso Abbey for long drew revenue from 
the lands of Oxton territory, a connection which appears to 
have held good till 1647, when by Act of Parliament it was 
separated " from the said sometime Abbacy of Kelso and 
Priory of Eccles."* 

In the Kelso Register, we find the name set down as 
Vlfkelyston, Vlfkeliston, Vlfkiliston, Hulfkeliston, and ulkil- 
leston ! 

Now, at first glance, it does not seem credible that this 
Gargantuan " Vlfkylyston " can be the ancient representative 
of the modern " Oxton." But thfere is no doubt of it. Both 
designate the same place. In a charter from Dryburgh 
Register, No. 312, about 1380, the "Mill of Ulkeston" is 
said to be in the " Valley of Lauder." This connects 

■•' Acts vi. 

OXTON 357 

" Ulkeston " with Lauderdale, and is so far satisfactory. The 
charter itself was originally found in the charter chest of 
Thirlestane Castle. This connection is still further confirmed 
and carried up into the Parish of Channelkirk by a charter in 
the Liber de Calchou (Kelso). In Charter No. 245, Alan, son 
of Roland of Galway, Constable of Scotland, gives to God 
and the Church of St Mary at Kelso five carucates of land in 
Vlfkelyston in Lauderdale, with easements, as a composition 
for revenues which Kelso monks held in Galway in the time 
of his ancestors, in free and perpetual charity. The 
boundaries of these five carucates, or 520 acres, Lord Alan 
says, " I myself have walked over." This method of 
measuring land by perambulation was then a common one, 
and they are defined as beginning " from the head of Holdene 
(Over Howden) ; descending by Holdene Burn to Derestrete ; 
then northwards from Derestrete by Fuleforde and Samson's 
Marches to the Leader ; from the Leader to the eastern 
head of the same village of Hulfkeliston ; from the eastern 
head of Ulfkiliston by a straight road through the south 
village, ascending as far as Derestrete ; thence stretching to 
the tofts and crofts of William of Colilawe and of Richard, son 
of Ganfred, and so by the same way south to a cross, and 
thence towards the west as the crosses are placed, and so to 
Holdene." This description is quite conclusive. For those 
who know the ground, this rugged outline has considerable 
interest, and Lord Alan must have been fairly tired when 
he finished his walk round it, " reddin' the marches." Five 
carucates were five ploughgates, or five times a hundred and 
four acres, and our view of the scene is sufficiently clear to 
show us that this ancient Hulfkeliston or Ulfkiliston must have 
been the venerable ancestor of the present Oxton. All this 
perambulation took place about the year 1206, and as we 


look down Oxton Street to-day and watch in fancy that 
spectral procession of nearly seven hundred years ago 
approaching and passing on, wending its way towards Over 
Howden, many feelings crowd upon us. The past never 
ceases to be wonderful. Over Howden and Over Howden 
Burn, the Leader, and the village are still with us, and a 
part of our common life, but Fuleforde, Derestrete, and 
Sampson's Marches have grown dim in the lapse of time. 
Fuleforde may have been a ford over the Leader near 
Carfrae Mill ; Derestrete is Deirastrete, the road to 
Deira, once a province of Northumbria, and believed to 
have been the Roman road ; but Samson's Marches are 
obliterated beyond even vague conjecture. They may have 
been the west boundary of Addinston property. But one 
thing is clear, viz., that the present Oxton is the only place 
that can fit into the " Ulfkiliston " of the boundary which 
Lord Alan of Galway personally walked over. 

Again, in the Liber de Dryburgh, No. 185, — "Thomas, 
the writer, son of William of Colilawe, prompted by divine 
charity, and for the salvation of his soul and the souls of 
his ancestors and successors, gives and concedes and con- 
firms to God and the Church of Saint Cuthbert at Channel- 
kirk, eight acres of land, four arable, and four meadow, 
viz., the haugh under Langsyde in the territory of Ulkilston." 
This again connects Ulkilston with Channelkirk, and it is 
a reasonable conclusion that these acres were identical with 
those that formerly made a part of the glebe in Mount Mill 
Haugh, and which were excambed a few years ago for 
some acres nearer the manse. 

The identity of Oxton with this ancient Hulfkeliston 
of the charters is admitted by the Rev. J. Morton in his 
Monastic Annals of Teviotdale, and by Dr J. Anderson 

OXTON 359 

in his Diploniata Scotice. In Kelso Charters, No. 246, we 
are told, moreover, that William of Hartside is to pay 
to the monks an annual rent of 8s., to be paid out of 
certain land in Ulkiliston which belonged formerly to 
Gillefalyn in that place, and the contiguity of Hartside 
to Oxton is another though indirect proof that the 
present Oxton is meant by the Ulkeliston of the 

Having now assured ourselves that Oxton, Ugston, 
Uxton, Huxston, Uggistoune, Ulkiliston, Ulfkylyston and 
Hulfkeliston, are all designations of dne and the same 
place, we may pass on to show that they all spring from 
one source. Dr Anderson, in his Diploniata Scotics, has this 
comment on the name " Ulkilstun " : " Town of Ulfkill, now 
contracted Uxton in Lauderdale regality in the Merse." 
" Ulfkill" is undoubtedly the principal part of the name, 
and the " tun " or " fence " the other. Who, then, was this 
Ulfkill? Can we reasonably assume that there was a 
person with such a name actually located so many hundred 
years ago in the village now called Oxton, who laboriously 
lived, fought, sweat, and ploughed by the meandering 
rivulet of Clora ? There is a charter which Russell, in 
Haigs of Bonersyde, assures us with reasons (p. 30) 
must belong to the period 1 162-66 A.D., wherein " William 
of Ulkillestun" is a witness to the sale of two families by 
Richard de Morville to Henry de Sinclair (Carfrae), serfdom 
being prevalent among the working classes of those days. 
Here we see that, so early as this time, Ulkillestun is well 
established, and gives territorial dignity and status to its pro- 
prietor. It seems, however, that there need be no timidity 
in assuming that such a person of the name of Ulfkill must 
have settled in Upper Lauderdale much earlier even than 


the twelfth century. Peculiar as it looks to us now, the 
name of Ulfkill was not at all rare in either Scotland or 
England at that time. For instance, our saintly King 
David the First (ii 24-1 153) grants to the Church of the 
Holy Trinity at Dunfermline his three thralls or serfs — 
Ragewein, Gillepatric, and Ulchill. Ulfchill, son of Merewin, 
is mentioned in a charter of the same king, giving certain 
favours to the Church of St Mary at Haddington. Also, 
in one of his charters in connection with Melrose Abbey, 
concerning the Grange lands of Eildon and Gattonside, one 
Ulfchill, son of Ethelstan, is mentioned as a witness. Still 
earlier, in one of the charters of Edward, King of Scots, 
one Ulfkill is named as having the nickname Swein. At 
that period, indeed, the name Ulfkill seems to have been 
quite a common one. From its association in the last 
instance with Swein, the name of the father of our Danish 
King Canute, it is easy to surmise that Ulfkill is Norse 
in origin. In fact, the name is Norse, and nothing else. 
But it turns out to be a contraction of the full name 
" Ulfcytel." This name, it need not be said, brings us 
at once into the full light of history, for the great hero 
Ulfcytel must have been as renowned throughout East 
Anglia and the North, at the commencement of the 
eleventh century, as Sir William Wallace was at the close 
of the thirteenth. Under the date A.D. 1004, the Anglo- 
Saxon Chronicle tells the story of the incursion of the Danes 
upon Norwich, and how Ulfcytel, though of Danish origin 
himself, gallantly withstood the hordes of spoilers that 
burst over East Anglia, joining battle with them, and 
putting them to such hazards that they themselves said, 
" they never had met a worse hand-play among the English 
nation than Ulfcytel had brought to them." " In him,' 

OXTON 361 

says Freeman * " England now found her stoutest champion 
in her hour of need." And analogous to the " Ulfkillston " 
of our charters, it may be noted here that East Anglia is 
at that time sometimes called in honour of him *' Ulfkels- 
land." He is described, indeed, as ruler of the whole 
north of England in the beginning of the eleventh century. 
His name, also, was contracted even then to the form 
with which we are familiar, for the Danes in their sagas 
speak of him, as William of Malmesbury does, by the 
term Ulfkill or Ulfkell. 

This would seem to give us the right suggestion as to 
who this Ulfkill of Lauderdale should be, and how he 
came to settle in Channelkirk parish. True, we have not 
a shred of further historical ground which is firm enough 
to bear us beyond the valley of the Leader in order to 
satisfy our natural curiosity as to whether he was British 
born, though of Danish descent, or had come red-handed 
as a plundering sea-rover to the coast of Northumbria, 
ultimately finding a home under the shadow of the Lammer- 
moors. But the turmoil and displacement of peoples at 
that period render his appearance at the place, now called 
Oxton, perfectly rational and probable. This conjecture 
is further strengthened when we reflect that all over 
Northumbria, which then included Berwickshire, though 
not by that name, the Norse element was a predominating 
one, and that from 1017 to 1041, the very throne of the 
nation was in possession of the Danes. The name of 
Ulfcytel was in this country as early as the ninth century, 
and those who are interested in this matter have the time 
between that period and A.D. iioo, roughly, in which to 
fix the original settlement of Oxton. Neither is it im- 
* Nonnan Conquest, vol. i. 


probable that a Dane should quietly submit to the 
drudgeries of cultivating the land which he had entered 
upon at first as a spoiler. The Saxon Chronicle tells us 
that in the year 876, Halfdene, who with his Danes had 
often carried fire and death into Northumbria, apportioned 
its lands out among his followers, " and they thenceforth 
continued ploughing and tilling them." Turner includes 
Berwickshire in this statement when he says, " Halfden 
having completed the conquest of Bernicia, divided it among 
his followers, and tilled and cultivated it." * Perhaps this 
requires qualification, for on this point the author of 
Scotland under her Early Kings has received praise from 
Freeman in his Norman Conquest'^' -j* for fully establishing 
that " Deira only was actually divided and occupied by 
the Danes," If Bernicia had been included in this 
Danish division of lands, we might have had strong 
historical grounds for assuming that Ulfkill came into 
Lauderdale with that influx of Norsemen, seeing that 
Berwickshire was included in Bernicia, which then stretched 
up to the Forth. Still, it is not denied by Freeman that 
Bernicia was then brought under some degree of subjec- 
tion by the Danes, although he is convinced that it yet 
remained essentially English in occupation and ruling. 
However we may regard it, there is further evidence in 
another place-name just outside this parish in Lauderdale 
which shows a decidedly Danish settlement. This place 
is called Lileston. Singularly enough, the two names " Liles- 
toun and Uggistoune" are often conjoined in property 
deeds at a very early date. " Lileston " is a corruption of 
" Ilifstun," the town of " Ylif " or " Olaf," a famous name 

* History of the Anglo-Saxons, vol. ii., p. 164. By Sh. Turner, 
t Vol. i., Note kk., p. 659. 

OXTON 363 

in Danish victories of the ninth and tenth centuries. It 
was one of that name who in 854 blighted with desolation 
East Anglia, and carried his ravages throughout all the 
region bordering on the Forth. In such a raid it is not 
likely that Lauderdale would be overlooked. In A.D. 941 
also, an Olaf was chosen King of Northumbria. He died 
after having laid waste and burnt the Church of St 
Balthere at Tyningham.* About the end of the twelfth 
century we know that one " Ilif or "Ailif" held property 
near Oxton, which was heired by his son Roger, and it is 
not improbable that this Ylif may have become possessed 
of, and given his name to, the place now called Lileston. 

Both Roger and his father Ailif or Olaf seem to have 
planted their names firmly in the Lileston district, for as 
late as 1725 we find on Mole's Map of Lauderdale, Roger- 
law and Eylston neighbouring each other. In any case, 
the Danish settlers in Upper Lauderdale have place and 
name in an unmistakable manner at a very early date, 
whether or not they came into it in the ninth, tenth, or 
eleventh centuries. Other evidence also exists. (See 
" Hartside " account.) 

It will also now, perhaps, be admitted that we are some- 
what justified in believing that the Norse name Ulfcytel 
is the root of all the other designations which have been 
given to our village, and that, to the discerning, however 
the consonantal bones of it may be crushed and contorted, 
it is yet evident throughout the representative catalogue 
— Ulfcytelstun, Ulfkillston, Hulfkeliston, Ulkilleston, Uggis- 
toune, Huxston, Ugston, and Oxton. 

It will also now be apparent how far astray the name has 
wandered. How melancholy that the heroic Norse name 
* Celtic Scotland^ vol. i., p. 360. 


" Ulfkill " should be turned into an " Ox " ! " To what 
base uses we may return, Horatio ! " If the initial " U " 
had but been spared ! 

We shall now try to trace the changes which the village 
has seen in bygone days with regard to its proprietors. 
Perhaps these may be as interesting as the fortunes or 
misfortunes which have overtaken its name. And here 
preliminary notice may be taken of the circumstance that 
the village was divided in its earlier periods into two sections, 
a hint of which is given us in Lord Allan of Galloway's gift 
to Kelso Abbey of the five carucates of land mentioned 
above. The boundary is spoken of there as passing through 
the "south village." This is about 1206 A. D., and as late as 
about 1567, or seven years after the Reformation, Kelso 
Abbey is said to draw revenue from " Ugstone, Ewer (Over) 
and Nether," to the extent of £26, 13s. 4d. * 

Coming now to the early proprietors, we may reasonably 
regard the Norseman Ulfkill or Ulfcytel to have been its 
earliest owner within the historical period, although it is 
beyond our knowledge to fix any precise date when first he 
lived in the body there, and gave to it his name. Oxton, 
however, at the earliest time of its mention in Records, was 
more than a village ; it was an estate or territory, and must 
have embraced a considerable area of ground between Over 
Howden Burn and Mountmill, that is, between one of the 
marches of Allan of Galloway's five carucates and the place 
which was called Oxton Mill or Mill of Ulfkilston. Oxton 
"territory," indeed, seems {cir. 1200) to have included all 
the land which at present lies within the bounds which 
follow Mountmill Haugh and Burn down to the meeting of 
the latter with Kelphope Water at Carfraemill, thence across 
* Kelso Register. 

OXTON 365 

the intervening hills to where Carsemyres stood at the 
junction of Over Howden Burn with the highway, up 
Over Howden dean to Over Howden, on and over the 
moorland lying behind as far as to the burn which passes 
Inchkeith Farm and the Farm of Threeburnford. Thence 
from Threeburnford, following the Mountmill Burn, down 
to Mountmill makes a circle which girdled Oxton 
" territory " ; for there are indications that Airhouse 
Lands were also included within it. It had also rights, 
apparently, in a wider tract of land, which came to be called 
Wideopen Common later. 

But while the " territory " of Oxton retained these 
dimensions, during the reign of Allan of Galloway over 
Lauderdale, there is evidence that it was being broken up 
into sectional properties. The reason for this is evident. 
One strong hand seizes the whole land, then portions it 
out on conditions to his followers. These again find it 
convenient to do the .same on conditions to others standing 
farther away than themselves from the fountain of authority. 
We have in Lauderdale, for example, David 1., then from 
him Hugh de Morville, then from him his sons, then their 
favourites, the Church, and others, aW possessing land. 
About 1213-14 A.D. William of Hartside is drawn upon 
by Kelso monks to the extent of 8s., which he pays out of 
the land which Gillefalyn of Ulkilleston held. This land was 
by certain evidence what is now called Heriotshall. More- 
over, a croft and toft in the east part of the same village is 
given to them by Allan of Galloway, and we are also told 
that Roger, son of Ailif, had right to these moneys formerly. 
The lion's share of Oxton territory had already gone to 
Kelso monks, with an offer also of Oxton Mill which 
Dryburgh influence, exerted through some local magnate. 


seems to have been strong enough to prevent their obtain- 
ing, and now the names of Aihf or Olaf, Gillefalyn, and 
Roger, as representing landed interest in and around Oxton, 
point to the initial divisions which ultimately broadened into 
Justicehall, Heriotshall, and other places, such as Langsyde, 
which have passed away. 

The thirteenth century was one which saw great changes 
in Scotland, especially towards its close, in the uprising under 
Wallace, and the struggle for the Scottish Crown. Balliol, as 
representing the Earls of Galloway, received the superiority of 
Lauderdale when Earl Allan died in 1234, but little change 
seems to have taken place with regard to Oxton village or lands 
during the time of turmoil ensuing on Edward's invasions of 
Scotland in 1296 and 1298; and the Kelso monks still held 
their lion's .share of it at the opening of the Scottish era of in- 
dependence. In the Kelso Rent Roll, which, it is shown, must 
have been written before 1309, it is stated, " Habent in valle 
de Lawedir villa diam de ulkillestun^ q^ sol r'^ der / aii 
XX. marc," or, " They have in the valley of Lauderdale half 
the village of Oxton, which is wont to return per annum 
twenty marks." Regarding the proprietors of the other 
half, which may have been either the Over or the Nether 
Ugston noticed above, we have no record. The Mill of 
Oxton comes under our observation in 1273, when Sir 
William de Abirnithy gives the monks of Dryburgh Abbe}' 
two marks out of its revenues. Regarding the origin of the 
Abernethy interest in Oxton territory, we are left in much 
uncertainty. They were anciently connected with the 
Macduff's of Fife. Lord Salton hazards the following 
explanation. After lamenting the meagre information 
available, he says, * " All record of the means by which 
* Frazers of Philorth, vol. ii., pp. 28, 29. 

OXTON 367 

the Abernethies acquired the Estate of Salton in East 
Lothian, or of the date at which it came into their possession, 
has unfortunately perished. But they appear to have held 
it before the time of this Sir Wm. Abernethy, and he 
probably obtained, as well as Glencorse (which had be- 
longed to his elder brother Hugh), Ulkestone or Uggistone, 
in Berwickshire, as his appanage. In the beginning of the 
twelfth century Salton was part of the vast estate of the 
powerful family of de Morville, and probably the Aber- 
nethies were their vassals for it, but in process of time 
freed themselves from the superiority of that family, as of 
their successors." 

In whatever manner the Abernethies came into Upper 
Lauderdale, the Mill of Oxton was in 1273 part of their 
estate, and perhaps also all the Oxton territory which was 
not held by Kelso and Dryburgh Abbey.s, Their name 
comes into prominence in connection with this mill in the 
years 1220, 1273, and about 1300 and 1380.* During the 
thirteenth century their name was notorious enough. The 
Sir William Abernethy who gives in 1273 two marks to 
Dryburgh monks out of Oxton Mill was the reputed in- 
.stigator of the murder of Duncan, Earl of Fyfe, one of 
Scotland's guardians during a period when the country 
was in crises from Norse invasions, disputed succession, 
Papal impositions, Wallace risings, and English tyranny. 
But Lord Salton is convinced that Sir Hugh de Abernethy, 
Sir William's elder brother, was the real instigator, he being 
the head of the house at the time. Both brothers were 
probably confined in Douglas Castle, he thinks, although 
Douglas in his Peerage, p. 467, mentions Sir William only. 
At Potpollock (Pitelloch), in September 1288, Sir Patrick 
* Liber de Driburgh, Charters Nos. 237, 175, 291, 292, 312. 


Abernethy and Sir Walter Percy murdered the Earl of 
Fife, while the astute Sir William, the mover of the plot, 
lay in wait to intercept him if he had gone another road. 
Sir William and Sir Walter Percy were apprehended ; Sir 
William to languish in Douglas Castle till his death, while 
Sir Walter suffered execution. This Sir William of Ulkilston 
was descended from Sir Patrick, who was the son of Laurence 
de Abirnithy, whose father was Orm. Orm is said to have 
given his name to Orm-iston, which was probably included 
at that time in the Salton estate of the Abernethies. Orm 
was descended from Hugh, who flourished in the reign of 
Malcolm IV. 

There are glimmerings here and there that Lauderdale 
magnates were somewhat hopeless of Scotland's resistance 
to English aggression, and, like most of the Scottish barons, 
were not disinclined to submit. Munderville of Glengelt 
and Sinclair of Carfrae seem to have actually submitted, 
and Abernethy's murder of Scotland's principal guardian 
in the north may have had other aims behind it than mere 
private revenge. Lauderdale as a district, indeed, has 
always had stronger leanings towards kings than towards 
the people, whether the result might be for freedom or 
oppression. Sir William certainly swore fealty to Edward. 
But, in justice, it must be said that when Wallace's noble 
initiative in 1296, and Bruce's final achievement of Inde- 
pendence in 1 3 14, made Scotland's position invulnerable, 
and when there was no doubt that the people of Scotland 
would retain their kingdom intact, then the barons, with 
Lauderdale magnates among them, moved forward in 1320 
with their solemn address to the Pope, the duplicate of which 
may yet be seen in the hall of the Register House, Edin- 
burgh, declaring that " so long as there shall but one hundred 

OXTON 369 

of us remain alive, we will never give consent to subject 
ourselves to the dominion of the English." Better late than 
never, and we are pleased to see in the list of signatures 
those of James Douglas, Lord of Lauderdale, Roger de 
Mowbray, who may be the progenitor of the Mowbrays 
who held Kirktonhill near the close of the fifteenth century, 
Henry St Clair, Carfrae, and William de Abernethy. 

It is in the time of King Robert the Bruce that we first 
hear of the House of Seton being connected with Channel- 
kirk parish. About 1327, Allan de Hertesheued (Hartside) 
grants to Sir Alexander Seton, the father, Lord of that 
Ilk, a toft and croft and two oxgates of land (26 acres) 
in the territory of Ulkiston. The Setons were thus among 
the oldest proprietors of land in Upper Lauderdale, and 
they soon deepened their worth in it, as a reference to 
the account of Hartside will show. 

The Setons do not appear to have retained their Oxton 
property for any great length of time, and relinquished 
it in favour of the Abernethies. Before 146 1, Laurence, 
Lord Abernethy, was possessed " as of fee " in the lands of 
Lyelstoun and Uxstoun, with their pertinents. On the 
30th day of April of that year, an inquest was held at 
Lauder before Sir William de Cranstoun of Corsby, Sheriff 
Depute of Berwick, by Allan de Lauder, of that Ilk, in 
which it is shown that William Abernethy is lawful and 
nearest heir to his father Laurence in the lands of Lyelstoun 
and Uxtoun.* By the Exchequer Rolls of 146 1, we ascer- 
tain that sasine of these properties was granted to the 
said William Lyelstoun, is then of yearly value lOOs., and 
Uxtoun lands are valued at the same yearly price. 

" The said lands are held in chief of the King, giving 

* Original Charters, vol. iii., Register House, Edinburgh. 

2 A 


annually for Lyelstoun id. of silver at Whitsunday. Uxtoun 
is held by ward and relief, giving yearly common suit at 
the courts of the said constabulary (Lauderdale), and 
said lands are now in the hands of the King, by the death 
of the said Laurence and the failure of the true heir to 
prosecute his right to the same by the space of twent}' 
weeks or thereby, before the date of said inquest." Three 
years afterwards, in 1464, King James III. confirms to 
him the lands of Rothymay, Redy, Dalgathy, Dalders, 
Glencorse, Saltoun, all in different counties, and Lielstoun, 
and Ugistoune in Lauderdale.* 

At Edinburgh, loth January 1483, the King confirms 
all the above lands to Lord William, "which he creates 
and incorporates into one free barony of Abirnethy. 
James, Lord Abernethy, is served heir to Lord William, 
his brother, and enters upon his estates loth October 1488, 
when we note among his possessions, Lyelstoun and 
Ugstoun." Both are now worth, yearly, 20 merks, and 
in time of peace ;^io. In 1492, on the 9th of March, 
they pass to Lord James's son and. heir-apparent, 

In the same year, 1492, James Abernethy, son of 
" George Abernethy of Uggistoune," witnesses a charter 
by the Earl of Huntly, and this gives us the individual 
owner of Oxton at this date. No doubt he held of his 
lordly relatives. On 23rd June 1482, "George of Abirdnethy 
of Ugstoune ordains John Baty, burgess of Edinburgh, 
and his heirs and assignees, his lawful bailies of all 
and sundry his lands of Ugstone, with pertinents, lying in 
the bailiary of Lawdyr for twenty-two years." He signs 
" Gorg of Abyrnethy vyt myi awn hand." •!• 

* Great Seal, f Original Charters, vol. iii. 

OXTON 371 

On the same day of the same year he acknowledges to 
have received from the said John Baty and Isabel his spouse, 
the sum of ;^40 Scots (;^3, 6s. 8d. sterling) " of the mail 
of the three first years of the tack of his lands of Ugstoun 
set to them for 19 years." In four years more John Baty 
becomes possessor of Heriotshall, as we ascertain from 
the following : — " loth Nov. i486. — Charter whereby George 
Abernethy, lord of certain lands of Ugstoun, sells to John 
Baty, burgess of Edinburgh, those two husband lands with 
the pertinents, lying in the town and territory of Ugstoun 
and sheriffdom of Berwick, then occupied and possessed 
at rent by John Wod : To be holden de me for payment 
of id. Scots yearly at Pentecost on the ground of the said 
lands in name of blench-farm, if asked only. At Edin- 
burgh, loth Nov. i486." This George Abernethy of 
Uggistoune comes into prominence in another way in 
1 49 1, the year probably of his death. On the 9th of 
February of that year, the lords decree * " that James 
Sinclare, and Christian of Cockburn his spouse, sail freith, 
releif, and keep scathless George Abernethy of Oxtoune, 
at the hands of Gilbert Fordice, of the payment of fifteen 
pounds, usual money of Scots, of the rest of a mare (more) 
soume aucht be him as borgh for the said Christian, to 
be paid Gilbert for the marriage completit between the 
said Gilbert and Margaret Abernethy, the dochter of the 
said Christian, becais they feilzeit in their preif the time 
assignit to them, and ordains that lettres be written to 
distress the saidis James and Christian their landis and 
gudes for the said soume of fifteen pounds, and mak the 
said George Abernethy be content, and pait fred thereof" 

There is documentary evidence that the Abernethy 
* Acta Doininontm Auditorum, 


name was linked with the lands of Oxton through the 
years 1527, 1528, 1531, and 1557, for the Sheriff of Banff 
accounts on these dates for the rents of the Abernethy 
estates, and £2, 6s. 8d. — the same sum John Baty pays in 
1482 — had been received from the " firmis terrarum de 
Ugstoun " in Lauderdale.* 

George, Lord Salton, has sasine of the lands of Lielston 
and Wgstoun as " son and air to umquhile Alexander, 
Lord Salton, his father, conforme to a precept of the 
Chancelrie, ist June i587."f The change from the name 
Abernethy to that of Salton is explained by the fact that 
William, second son of Sir Patrick de Abernethy, became 
first Lord Salton. Alexander, ninth Lord Abernethy of 
Salton, sold the Salton estates to Sir Andrew Fletcher in 
1643. He died without issue, 1669, and his title devolved 
on the heir of line, Sir Alexander Frazer of Philorth.J 

While these great names are so prominent at this 
period in the history of Oxton, we are not to suppose 
that as individuals their fortunes reflected much of the 
actual life of the sequestered and remote village by the 
river Leader. But the village life was very real all the 
same, and a short peep into it is given us by an excerpt 
from the " Privy Council," which we quote : — 

"1580. — Mr Johnne Knox, minister at Lauder, was 
assaultit bet. Cowdoun and Dalkeith by David Douglas 
in Oxton, with ane drawn quhingear, for refusing baptism 
to a child born in fornication." § 

It is just possible that this " Oxton " may be the place 
given in Pont's map as being near the Braid Hills — Buck- 
stone, now, we believe — but the " minister at Lauder " 

* Exchequer Rolls, Appendix. f Acts of Parliament, vii., p. 154. 

I Frazers of Philorih. § Privy Council, vol. iii., p. 290. 

OXTON 373 

points to the refusal having been given in Lauderdale. 
The village, no doubt, had its scandals in those days as 
well as now. Channelkirk had no minister at this time. 

It must not be forgotten that we have hitherto been 
dealing with that part of Oxton territory which was separ- 
ated from the other part held in gift by the Kelso Abbey, 
who held of Lord Allan of Galway. This part was quite 
distinct from the possessions of the Abernethies, Setons, 
and William of Colilaw, and passed under the title of 
Kelso Abbey lands, as late, it seems, as 1646.* These 
Kelso lands were Over and Nether Howden, which embraced 
within their area the more modern farms of Burnfoot, Carse- 
myres, and perhaps Wiselawmill, Oxton Shotts, and prob- 
ably some acres nearer Oxton which are not so clearly 
distinguishable. They naturally fall to be treated in the 
notices of Over Howden and Nether Howden. 

In 1610 the town and territory of Ugston once more 
changed owners. Before 1605, Lord Salton, for reasons 
known to himself, found the accumulation of his misfortunes 
too heavy for the stability of his estates, and instead of 
judiciously seeking remedies, he rashly contracted more 
liabilities, until between the years 1609 ^^^ 1612 he was 
compelled to lighten ship in order to weather the storm, 
by parting with some of his properties. Of all the lands 
he sacrificed we are interested in Ugston and Lialston 
only. On 24th July i6io,t the king confirms the charter 
of John, Lord Salton, in which he sells to William 
Home of Harnycleuch, servitor to Alexander, Earl of 
Home, Lord Jedburgh and Dunglass, the town and lands 
of Ugstoun, with the pendicle called Luckenhaugh, with 
the exception of rights, should there be any, made by 
* Great Seal. t /Hi/. 


Lord Salton's predecessors to the late (Jas. ?) Heriot. 
William Home also obtains that part of Ugstoune "now- 
occupied and tenanted by William Heard and John 
Caldcleuch," 22nd December 1609. This property is 
known always as the Forty-shilling lands of Ugstone. 
In the Appendix to Dryburgh Register it is mentioned at 
various periods between 1535 and 1580 as paying forty 
shillings to Dryburgh Abbey. John Caldcleuch is first 
mentioned as paying forty , shillings for the " fewe lands 
of Ugstoun" about 1580. But about 1620 he only pays 
four capones. In 1630 we find John before the sub- 
commissioners of Earlston Presbytery giving evidence re- 
garding the teinds of Channelkirk parish. He is said to 
be then sixty years of age or thereby, and resides in 
Braedistie. This may have been the old name of the 
property known now as Ugston Mains. 

It is with a certain sentimental regret that we have 
to record here the separation of Ugston from Lyleston, 
twin places which held together from the beginning, at 
least, of the twelfth century. They are linked originally in 
the Norse nationality of their owners, Ulfkill and Olaf; 
they journey together as possessions for five hundred 
years, and are then sundered in the rending of Lord 
Salton's fortunes. In 161 2 Lyalstone is found in the 
hands of Lord Cranston ; the Countess of Glencairn has 
it in 1 6 14.* She gives it to her son, James Preston of 
Craigmillar, in 1624, and from Robert Preston of Preston 
and Craigmillar, John, Earl of Lauderdale, obtains it in 
1630. We observe, in passing, that " Rogerslaw " is said 
to be "in Lyalstone" in 1362, and it will be remembered 
that Roger is said to be the son of Ailif or Olaf, from 

* Great Seal. 

OXTON 375 

whom Lyalstone obtained its name, and it is probable 
that " Rogerslaw " was named after the son who would 
inherit his father's estate in that place. Both names are 

It must have been some time prior to the breaking up 
of Lord Salton's estates that the Heriots of Trabroun 
found possession in Channelkirk. Their connection with 
Ugston begins about 1610. They appear to be relatives 
of the same family which gave the scholarly George 
Buchanan his mother, and which found an honourable 
homeland in Gladsmuir parish, * and gave to Edinburgh 
the celebrated George Heriot, who founded Heriot's 
Hospital there. Their memory is yet retained in Channel- 
kirk parish by the farm now called Hen'o/shaW. In the 
same way that the Abernethies were strengthened in 
Lauderdale through their marriage connections with the 
more powerful House of Douglas and Angus, so the 
Heriot family seems to have entrenched itself within the 
walls of the rising House of Maitland. The relationship 
of the Heriots with the Maitlands appears to have been 
consummated in a contract of marriage in 1560, the 
memorable year of the Reformation. James Heriot was 
proprietor of Airhouse in Channelkirk sometime before 
this year, and perhaps had received his interest in it in 
succession to David Hoppringle of Smailholm. And ac- 
cordingly in 1586-7, on the 20th January, -j- the King con- 
firms the charter of the late James Heriot of Trabroun, 
Lauderdale, whereby he sells Airhouse, in liferent, to 
Isabella Maitland, who is contracted in marriage to James 
Heriot, jun., son and heir-apparent of the above James 
Heriot, who had, as we learn elsewhere, in 1558 married 
* Earls of Haddington^ vol. i., p. 34, note. t Great Seal. 


his daughter Elizabeth to Thomas, first Earl of Haddington.* 
The Heriots seem to have been early established in Lauder- 
dale, as one James Heriot is mentioned in Lauder deeds in 
141 8, and no doubt was a progenitor of the above Jameses. 
There is a John Heriot, vicar of Soutra, in 1467. By the 
time we reach the year 16 10 it is a Thomas Heriot who 
dies then possessed of Airhouse estate, and leaves it to 
his heiress and grand-daughter^ Janet Heriot. Sometime 
before this he seems to have acquired property in Ugston, 
for she is also served heiress to her grandfather in " the 
two merk lands of Ugston, commonly called Pickilraw, in 
the village and territory of Ugstoun." She holds Pickil- 
raw for twelve years, when William Home, who in 1610 
obtained the *' Forty-shilling lands of Ugston," takes into his 
sole right, 15th February 1622, from the King, the village and 
the lands of Ugston, the pendicle of these called Luikin- 
hauch, the two merk lands of Pikilraw, "which were oc- 
cupied by the late George Fyfife." He also obtains the 
Templar Lands of Ugston. 

As Ugston Templar Lands are frequently mentioned 
after this date, perhaps we may be allowed to interpolate 
a few digressive sentences here, explanatory of Templar 
lands in general. " The Templar Lands of Chingilkirk " 
are mentioned as early as 1588! as being in the hands 
of James Cranstoun, son of Robert Cranstoun of Faluod- 
scheills, but further light upon either these or those 
Templar lands of Oxton does not appear to be procurable, 
and the origin and previous record of both seem to be 
enshrouded in the impenetrable darkness which has en- 
veloped so much else that refers to Templar history. We 
take the following extracts from a paper read before 

* Earls of Haddington^ vol. i., p. 18. f Great Seal. 

OXTON 377 

Hawick Archaeological Society in 1887 by Mr Nenion 
Elliot, Teind Office, Edinburgh, which puts the matter as 
clearly and as satisfactorily as it is possible, perhaps, to 
have it : — 

" The Templars came into Scotland in the reign of King David the 
First, who reigned from 1124 to 11 53, and became so prosperous that 
there were few parishes wherein they had not some lands or houses. It 
may be here mentioned that the principal residence of the Knights 
Templars in Scotland was at Temple, near Gorebridge, Edinburgh, while 
that of the Hospitallers or Knights of St John, who also came into 
Scotland in David's reign, was at Torphichen, near Bathgate. Temple 
was founded by King David himself. The village of Temple is one of 
the oldest in Scotland, and still retains the name of Temple, as does also 
the parish in which the village is situated. This establishment was 
originally called Balantradock, and described in ancient documents as 
domus teinpli de Balantradock (now Arniston). 

"In the year 1563 Queen Mary granted to James Sandilands, Lord 
St John, the last head of the Order of the Knights of St John or 
Hospitallers, a charter of certain baronies and of all the Temple land 
which had belonged to the Preceptors of Torphichen as the head of the 
Kjnights of St John. This grant by Queen Mary to Lord St John did 
not include all the lands in Scotland which had at any time previously 
belonged to the Knights Templars, some of these having been alienated 
to other parties before the suppression of the Order, and others during 
the time they were held by the Preceptors of Torphichen. By this 
charter the whole of the subjects conveyed were erected into one great 
barony, to be called the barony of Torphichen, at the manor-place of 
which, according to the old practice, Sasine was to be taken. 

"On 9th July 1606 an Act of Parliament was obtained ratifying a 
contract made betwixt James Sandilands of Calder, Lord Torphichen, on 
the one part, and Mr Robert Williamson, Writer, and James Tennant of 
Lynehouse, on the other part, by which Lord Torphichen (in 1599) sold to 
them All and Sundry Temple lands and tenements pertaining to the said 
Lord Torphichen, either in property or tenandry, wherever situated, with 
certain specified exceptions. 

"On 4th December 1607 Lord Torphichen granted a charter in 
favour of Williamson, in terms of the above Act of Parliament, but ex- 
cepting from it certain lands in the counties of Edinburgh, Linlithgow, 
Lanark, and others. Sasine followed in favour of Williamson, and this 
title was confirmed by the Crown. 

"The preceding narrative indicates generally what became of the 


Templar property situated in Scotland. In one of the writs mentioned 
in the lawsuit, certain Temple lands are said to be within the counties of 
Fife, Kinross, Clackmannan, Perth, Forfar, Kincardine, Banfif, Nairne, 
Inverness, Elgin, Ross, Cromarty, Sutherland, Caithness, and Orkney. 
Another writ includes lands in Roxburgh, Selkirk, Kirkcudbright, Stirling, 
Dumbarton, Lanark, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, LinHthgow, Peebles, Wig- 
town, Renfrew, Dumfries, Berwick, and Ayr, and the Stewartry of 
Kirkcudbright. These serve to show that the estates were scattered 
over the whole country." 

There is little doubt that the leading men in Lauder- 
dale from the earliest period had a close relationship to 
the interests of the Templars. In June 25, 1213, at 
Rutland, " Helen de Morville, daughter of Richard de 
Morville, was attached to show why she kept not the fine 
made in the King's Court by chirograph, between her 
said father and the master of the soldiery of the Temple, 
regarding 123 acres of land in Wissindene." * We also 
learn that the brethren had charters from Allan de 
Morville (Galloway), son and heir of Helena, to the same 
effect. Reference is also made in the extracts given 
above to James Tennent of Lynehouse, who received part 
of the Temple lands belonging to Lord Torphichen in 
^ 599- There is a probability that this Tennent was related 
to the John Tennent, who in 1539 received a grant of Over 
and Nether Howden from King James V. This John 
Tennent was said to be "of Listonschiels." And in 
Torphichen Chartulary James Tennent is mentioned as 
" receiving a gift of escheat of all goods belonging to 
Robert Adamson of Listonschieles. Edinburgh, i ith January 
1 597-" That is, they reverted to him. He was probably 
John's son, and enjoyed once more the paternal heritage. 
The rest of the history of these " Tempellandis " is 

* Original Charters in Register House. 

OXTON 379 

soon told. James Tennent sold his moiety of them to 
the Robert Williamson above mentioned, and Williamson 
obtained a charter disjoining his purchase from the 
Barony of Torphichen, and erecting it into the " Tenandry 
of the Temple Lands." Williamson then sold the 
" Tenandry " to Lord Binning, afterwards Earl of Melrose 
and Haddington, who got these Temple lands erected into 
the Barony of Drem. 

The Barony of Drem went to the Hon. John Hamilton, 
Advocate, who left no son. Robert Hill, Esq., acquired it, 
and the greater portion of it, up to the year 1845, belonged 
to John Black Gracie, Esq., W.S. * 

There is no mention of the Temple lands in Channel- 
kirk, either those of " Chingilkirk " or of " Ugston," in the 
Berwickshire list in the Register House, or in the Tor- 
phichen Chartulary, and they must have been overlooked, 
for their existence is undoubted, and the references to 
them in the Great Seal and the Sasines are very frequent. 
They must have been long in the hands of the Saltons, 
and, no doubt, in those of the Abernethies before them.i* 

The Homes were at one time so powerful in other 
parts of Berwickshire, and so numerous, that we are not 
surprised to find their progeny flowing over into Lauder- 
dale, and even into such remote corners of it as Hernie- 
cleuch. William Home, who added Oxton in 1622 to his 
other lands in this district, was married to Isobella Frazer, 
who may also have been a member of the Abernethy- 
Salton-Frazer family so conspicuous at the same period. J 
Contemporaneous with the Homes of Ugston there was a 

♦ See Maidment's Account in the Spottiswoode Miscellany , vol. ii., 
pp. 20-32. 

t Great Seal, 5th February 1644. % Ibid, 


John Home in Over Shielfield, Lord Home of Polwarth 
held Headshaw, and half a century later a Home was 
ordained to the church and parish as minister, and was 
proprietor of Kelphope. For nearly two centuries the 
name of Home was a prominent one in this parish. 

We have no means of knowing the exact date of 
William Home's death. On 2nd August 1622 he and 
his son John produce their sasine of the Forty-shilling 
lands of Ugston ; on 7th Jan. 1623, he, his wife Isabella 
Fraser, and son John, the sasine also of the village and 
pendicles held of King James. John (or James, by one 
authority) hands them over to Abraham Home * of Home 
and Kennetsydheid, and to his wife Anna Home, on 3rd 
February 1640 ; who both in turn assign them to James 
Cheyne, W.S., Edinburgh, on ist February 1643. The Forty- 
shilling lands, and perhaps all Ugston, had meanwhile been 
taken over about 1630 by Walter Riddel of the Haining, 
Selkirkshire. Dryburgh Abbey claims from him, then, on 
account of the Forty-shilling land, 35s. 5d., and in 1634, 
43s. 4d., six poultry, and . . . . " capounis." f As late as 
1664, Alex. Home, son to Wm. Home, draws an annual 
rent furth of Oxton. 

But in 1644 the whole lands of Ugstoun — village ; 
pendicles ; mill ; Forty-shilling land " sometime pertaining 
to the Dryburgh Monastery, and which the Earl of Mar 
and Lord Cardross, his son, held for a time " ; and the 
Temple lands, " sometime held by John, Lord Salton " — all 
came into Cheyne's possession together. | He pays a yearly 

* Sasines and Great Seal. f Liber de Dryburgh^ p. 378. 

\ In the Decreet of Locality of Channelkirk^ June 30th, 1827, it is said, 
p. 241, that "James Skeyne " had the lands of Ugston in July 1632. 
This is, no doubt, the same person designated James Cheyne, but it is not 
so clear that he held Ugston at that date. 

OXTON 381 

return for the Temple lands of 3s. 46., and 2s. of aug- 
mentation ; and for his Forty-shilling land, the same as 
Walter Riddell in 1634, and for the other lands "customary 
rights and services." 

We are tempted to pause a little here on the character 
of this James Cheyne, and append a few notes illustrative 
of his career in Edinburgh. When our account is so much 
engaged with mere property and its dues, a biographical 
variation may be, perhaps, all the more welcome. 

His father, it seems, was Walter Cheyne of Tillibui,* who 
apprenticed his promising son to Robert Pringle. He it is 
who writes, about 1638, a charter by John, Archbishop 
Spottiswoode, St Andrews, confirming the lands of the late 
Lord Borthwick to Thomas Dalmahoy. He appears as 
"" in 1653, and as "notary" 26th June i654.-f- In 
due time James blossomed out into a W.S., about two years 
previous to his becoming possessor of Oxton lands and 
village. It does not appear, however, that he always kept 
the law which he professed to know so well, and had sharp 
and irascible ways. On i6th March 1659, "Mr James 
Cheyne and Mr David Watsoun compeared to answer to 
a charge of ' minassing ' one another," They confessed to 
" discord betwixt them in William Dounie's chamber ! " 
" Filling up a blank paper " was the casus belli. The case 
could not be settled at once, however, as the Commissioners 
" could not sitt any longer by reason of their uther urgent 
efifeirs." But the scales of justice weighed out in a few 
days, " for the discord aforementioned," ;^20 each of a fine 
to " the box," and suspension till it should be paid. James 
sniffs at the whole concern, and does not deign to compear. 
Next month, on 5th April, the fine is modified to. 20 merks 
* History of Writers to the Signet. t Calendar of Laing Charters. 


to be paid betwixt them. James is then graciously " re-ad- 
mitted," to all appearance, although the minute of it is 
not given. We hear no more of him till four years after- 
wards, when he is found, in 1663, complaining that Robert 
Alexander dares to act as a W.S., notwithstanding that he 
was " at the horn " — no joke in those days — " and unrelaxed 
' for this many years.' " Robert has " other faults," too, 
which have not escaped the sharp eye of Mr Cheyne. But 
when Robert Alexander, W.S., compears, subsequently, to 
answer the bill of complaint given in by Mr James Che}'ne, 
the latter does not attend, and again proudly sniffs at the 
whole affair. Mr James, by-and-by, is the culprit himself, 
" for writing a bill and letters of horning," etc. James denies 
subscribing the letters, but seems, notwithstanding, to have 
written them. After due trial the letters are found to be 
" unformall " ; but he still persists that he never subscribed 
them. On 30th January 1671 he is suspended a second 
time " for subscribing letters to unfreemen," and James Allan 
gets a warrant to subscribe letters for him during the time 
of his suspension. The professional atmosphere was growing 
black around him, and out in remote Oxton, long before 
this, property matters were no brighter. All through the 
year 1671 his star seems to have shone through clouds, even 
though he was " reponed " in February, for on 1 8th November 
1672 " Mr James Cheyne being complained upon for writing 
letters to the Signet for agents and unfreemen, his letters 
are ordered to be stopped until he " make his appearance " 
to answer for his transgressions. Ten years go past, but he 
does not seem to have improved. On 6th November 1682 
" the treasurer is ordained to ' settle Mr James Cheyne in 
some honest house quhair he may be alimented, and this 
without delay,'" 27th April 1683 — "Approbation is given 

OXTON 383 

to the treasurer for the sums paid to him to . . . Mr James 
Cheyne. , . ." The Commissioners, considering that Mr James 
Cheyne is in the exercise of his office till Whitsunday, find 
that till that time he ought to have no allowance from the 
box as pension, yet the treasurer is allowed " to give him 
in smalls two dollars betwixt and Whitsunday." 7th May 
1683 — Mr James Cheyne is allowed ;^ioo yearly, in quarterly 
payments, " in case he goe off the citty and forbear the 
exercise of his calling." On the 15th June of same year 
he is due ;iC20 to a Mrs Currie, cook, which the treasurer 
pays " off the first end of his pension." The treasurer also 
is appointed to speak with Mr Duncan Forbes, the under- 
clerk, to know on what terms Lamertoun's bond in his hand 
is granted to Mr James Cheyne. And the last view we 
have of him before he sinks beneath the waves of oblivion 
is in keeping with all the rest. 20th October 1684 — "Mr 
James Cheyne having drawn a bill on the treasurer for 
^6, payable to John Sandilands on order, the treasurer is 
authorised to pay it, although there was not so much due 
of his allowance. The treasurer is recommended to advise 
him to draw no more till it be due ! " A man of furious 
life evidently, and clearly indebted to kind friends, whose 
names are not revealed, for being kept from utter prodigality 
and di.ssoluteness. Thirty-one years before this last sinister 
notice of him in 1684, viz., in 1653, we find that his Oxton 
property was not large enough to supply his exchequer, and 
had to be bonded. He had held it nine years at that date. 
He then wadsets it to John Home of Aitoun and Hutton, 
and his second wife, " in an annual rent of 300 merks Scots 
yearly, to be uplifted from the Ugston lands, mill, and mill 
lands." Sasinc of the same is granted to his son and heir, 
Alexander Home, in 1664, by precept of clare constat from 


James Achiesone of Howdoun, hereditary proprietor of the 
lands of Ugstoun, mill, and mill lands thereof" * 

James Achiesone was not a newcomer to Channelkirk 
parish when he got the lands of Ugston, for he had been 
established in Nether Howden "in fee" in 1647. His father, 
John Achieson, advocate, held the same property in liferent 
at the same time, although the Channelkirk Locality -j- dates 
it at 1632. A doubtful statement. The Achieson (or Aitchi- 
son) family, who may have descended from the Achiesons of 
Edinburgh, so long connected with the Mint, kept long their 
connection with Nether Howden, although in January 1681 
we find that John Ker gets sasine of the lands of Ugston 
and Ugston mill (Mountmill).| 

The Kers, so famous in Border story, long held most of 
the teinds of Channelkirk parish. In 163 1 the Kers of 
Morriston are said to own the " two husband lands of 
Ugston." § These are now called Heriotshall. The Kers 
held them throughout the greater part of the seven- 
teenth century. In 1687, 13th January, John Ker of 
Moristoun, || heir of Andrew Ker, his brother, who was in 
1676 served heir to Mark Ker of Moristoun, his father, 
enters into possession of the "two husband lands of Ugstoun" 
(Heriotshall). He also held at this time Collielaw and 
Bowerhouses, as also half of the teinds of almost the whole 
parish, bequeathed to him from his ancestors. These, we 
need not say, were only part of great possessions which 
the house of Moriston, now so humble, then held in Lauder- 
dale and throughout Berwickshire. 

At the beginning of the seventeenth century the lands of 
Oxton appear to have become separated into several distinct 

* Calendar of Laing Charters, No. 2587. t Pp. 237-41. 

+ Sasines. § Locality, p. 243. || Retours. 

OXTON 385 

properties, each having its special designation. In various 
deeds and charters these figure as Pickleraw ; LuckenJiaugh ; 
Ugston Mains ; Temple Lands ; the Two Husband Lands ; 
and Forty-shilling Lands. Over Howden and Nether 
Howden, which originally were included in the " barony " 
or " territory " of Ugston, were quite distinct from all 

Pickleraw has a descendant surviving among us to-day 
which is called Pickieston, an abbreviation of Pickleston or 
Picklestoun. Pickleraw was originally known as the " Two 
Merk Land of Ugston."* Luckenhaugh (Look-in-Haugh) has 
also its surviving relative to-day in the " Luckencrofts " field 
near Oxton Cross, now included in Nether Howden Farm. 
Ugston Mains is yet a fine flourishing farm of lOO acres, and 
seems to have been the " Forty-shilling Lands of Ugston." 
Forty-shilling Land was Three Merk Land in the East of 
Scotland,"!" and it appears that Oxton Mains answers more 
to the size of the " Forty-shilling Land " of the past than 
any other piece of ground known to us in Oxton vicinity. 
The " Temple Land " does not seem to have been defined 
at any time, and is always spoken of as " lying among the 
lands of Ugston." Perhaps Heriotshall and Ugston Mains 
may have swallowed it between them, seeing that all three 
appear to have been contiguous to each other, Heriotshall 
is now 1 3 acres, or an oxgang (that is, half a husband land), 
larger than its original size of two husband lands, and 
Ugston Mains is 22 acres larger than its original dimensions. 
From both we get 35 acres, or in old measurement nearly 
three oxgangs ; and these three oxgangs may probably have 
been the original Temple Lands of Ugston. The " Two 

* Great Seal, 1622 A.D. ; Sasines. 
t Celtic Scotland, vol. iii., p. 226. 

2 B 


Husband Lands of Ugston" were Heriotshall, which obtained 
this latter designation from the Heriots of Airhouse about 
the beginning of the seventeenth century. 

When, or from whom, the Somervilles may have obtained 
Heriotshall we are not quite clear, but it was no doubt 
purchased from the Kers of Morriston, and it must have 
been at some considerable time prior to 1727. We know 
that John Murray of Ouplaw (Uplaw, or Wooplaw), on 
the 2nd September of that year, had that property con- 
veyed to him from Alexander Somerville, mariner in 
Chatham, the son of Alexander Somerville, writer in Edin- 
burgh, then deceased, who was the eldest son of the 
deceased George Somerville and Alison Bathgate of Heriots- 

In 1742 Oxton Mains belongs to James Somerville of 
Airhouse,! John Murray still holds Heriotshall, and Lucken- 
haugh, or Justicehall, is the property of James Justice, 
"one of the Principal Clerks of Session." These had been 
disponed to Mr Justice by Thomas Mathie, 15th June 
1 739-+ This brings Oxton lands clearly under one view, 
although they have now got divided among different 

The lands of Ugston having thus distinct bounds and 
separate appellations, viz., Heriotshall, Justicehall, Ugston 
Mains, not to mention Over Howden and Nether Howden, 
these may perhaps be more conveniently treated under 
their different designations, to which the reader is there- 
fore now referred. 

There is, however, one property that calls for mention 
here and which was closely associated from time immemorial 

* Acis and Decreets^ vol. 597 ; Mack, 
t Kirk Records, % Locality, p. 168. 

OXTON 387 

with the existence of Oxton, and as a burning interest in 
it was evoked twenty years after the time (1742) which 
we have last recorded, it may appropriately be discussed 
in this place. We refer to the Common called "Wide- 

Before the days of modern land-hunger, "commons" 
were prevalent over all the country. But, as may be con- 
ceived where every one had rights, and where all could claim 
liberty to pasture cows or whatever stock they chose, the 
burden upon such common spaces would become very great, 
and, in individual cases, the abuse of greedily putting so 
many cattle on them would be too apparent to escape the 
reprobation of the general community. These troubles, 
therefore, rose on many occasions, and the common benefit 
soon became a common nuisance, and lawsuits were frequent 
anent the quarrels that ensued. The thirty-eighth Act of 
the Scottish Parliament of the year 1695* dealt with these 
" commons," and power was given whereby such commonties 
might be divided at the instance of those whose properties 
and rights were involved in them. This facility was taken 
advantage of in the case of " Wideopen " by Robert Scott, 
Esq. of Trabrown, " late of Madeira, now of London," in 
a process at his instance against the Earl of Lauderdale 
and others interested in it, which, begun in 1762, did not 
quite close till 1769. Difficulties had arisen on every side, 
and " Wideopen " being contiguous to the properties of 
three parishes, many jealousies were stirred, and evidently 
Mr Scott had determined to bring the whole matter to 
something like a clear understanding on a legal basis, and 
have the disputes allayed for all time coming. He raised 
the case to have the commonty divided and parcelled out 
* Acts and Decreets^ vol. 597 ; Mack. Register House. 


among the various proprietors who had the right to pasture 
cattle on it. These were : — 

1. Earl of Lauderdale, for Whitelaw, 

2. Adam Fairholm, banker, Edinburgh, for Pilmuir barony, which 

included Upper Sheilfield, Pilmuir, Blackchester, Midburn, 
Haverlaw or Halkeslaw, Wiselaw-mill, etc. 

3. Sir John Paterson of Eccles, for Kittyflat. 

4. Miss Christian Hunter, for Nether Howden. 

5. Robert Scott of Trabrown, pursuer, for part of Trabrown barony, 

with the New Mill. 

6. John Christie of Baberton, for Meikle Catpair. 

7. James Justice of Justicehall, for the lands of Ugston, Over Howden, 

and Upper and Nether Carsemyres. 

8. James Murray of Uplaw, for Heriotshall in Ugston. 

9. John Thomson, for Nether Bowerhouse. 

10. James Somervell, for Arras (Airhouse) and Ugston Mains. 

11. James Watherston, for the lands of Haugh. 

12. Alison Watherston, widow of Wm. Cuthbertson, portioner of 

Trabrown, and Cuthbertson in Trabrown, for their re- 
spective interests of liferent and fee, for parts of the lands of 

13. Janet, Isabel, and Margaret Watherstons, children of James 

Watherston, deceased, portioner in Trabrown, and Janet 
Watherston, his widow, for part of Trabrown lands. 

14. John Watherston, for acres in Trabrown belonging to his father, 

Simon Watherston of Netherfield, deceased. 

15. James Watherston, for Netherfield or House-in-the-Muir. 

16. Thomas Murray, baxter in Edinburgh, for Mitchelson and 


17. John Cuming-Ramsay, for Threebumford. 

18. George Thomson, Lasswade, for Bumhouse. 

19. George Addiston of Carcant, for Colielaw. 

20. James Hog, for Longmuir lands. 

In the valuation of Wideopen Common, taken in June 
1762, the following places are mentioned as lying on its 
boundary line : — Gilmerton, Cokim, Gilmerton Moor, How- 
bogs, Kameknow, Know-canny, The Burn, How-slack, 
Rowantree-law, Longmoor-burnfoot, The Fluther, Gorieford, 

OXTON 389 

Threeburnford, Arras-burn, The Slack, Meikle Dodhill, 
Turnercleuch, Fairnedoup, Howdenhill, Hemphillhouse, 
The Dod, Hiseldean, Birniehill, The Kairn, Pate's hag, 
Tathlaw-know, Ugston, Edinburgh Road, Hairlaw, Broad- 
bog. The Dass, Wardlaw Moor, Turnerford, Graysbarns, 
Rashie-cleuch, Kippit-hill, Wideope-green, North Grain, 
Pilmuir Road, Litler Kairn, Willie-Struther-bog, The 
Tongue, Falside-road, Sandvvell-syke, Meikler Kairn, 
Middle Rig, Long-slack, Inchkeith, Trabrown Road, Black- 
chester-lair, Mitchelston Road, Weatherlaw, Horse-bog, 
Frekles, Deanburn-brae. 

These give a general idea of its great extent, and of the 
importance attached to it. But the confusion that was likely 
to arise becomes evident when over such an area "each 
of these tenements and possessors of the same have an 
universal right over the whole common," " which right they 
have been in use to exercise at pleasure, by pasturing 
what number and kinds of cattle they thought proper," 
" without restr ion or limitation, or being any way con- 
fined as to place of pasturing, or the number, quantity, or 
kinds of beasts " ; " they also cast and win peats in the moss, 
cast turf, feal, and divot in the muirs at pleasure, without 
the least restraint or restriction." In short, the common, 
from originally being a place of common benefit, became 
an object of common plunder, and great heartburning 
as usual was generated throughout the three parishes. 
Mr Dalziell, Hartside, "quarrelled" Mr Cumming's rights 
and titles with reference to Threeburnford, and an Archibald 
Smith, who once lived at Collielaw, "one morning, when 
he came in from the common, where he had gone about 
sun-rising, told that William Murray's "herd" had his 
sheep of Easter-town in the common, and he, Archibald 


Smith, had turned the sheep off the common, and told 
the herd (shepherd) if ever he brought them there again 
he, Archibald Smith, would put them into the house ; and 
further, he went along with William Murray's sheep till 
they were quite off the common, where William Murray 
met him, and they had a long dispute about the matter." 
These were the days when the hillsides and even the fields 
were entirely free from fences, and the innocent sheep 
might stray far and wide, and crop any spot they might 
deem sweetest. With what result we see, in growling 
Dalziels and threatening Archibald Smiths ! 

The case was contested sharply, and many adjustments 
and re-adjustments were proposed and pleaded. Finally 
the Commissioners advised, and the Lords of Council and 
Session approved, that the common be divided among the 
.several parties having interest therein "in proportion to 
their respective valued rents, quantity and quality con- 
sidered." They therefore found " that the whole surface 
of the said common is exhausted," and eighty separate 
sections on a plan showed the various plots in colours into 
which it was divided. The case came up first before 
Lord Barjarg on 25th February 1762, and the division 
was to take effect on Whitsunday 1764. But there were 
several discontents who petitioned against the arrangements, 
and the case was remitted to Lord Barjarg once more for 
the purpose of calling and hearing parties. George Somer- 
ville, Airhouse, and James Murray, Heriotshall, were 
defenders among others. It was alleged that the division 
as allocated would not meet their wants with regard to 
other properties. Walker's Croft in Oxton, for example, 
was shown to be isolated, and many other murmurs were 
bruited, but the Commissioners, after repairing to the 

OXTON 391 

common personally, and examining it all over de novo, 
found it impossible to make any alteration. 

There was one important provision made, viz., that 
" the loans, highways, and roads be left open through the 
common for common passage and travelling as formerly T * 

It strikes one as strange that the common, which is 
called by the name of Oxton in several charters, should not 
have had retained within it somewhere some privileges for 
Oxton villagers. No doubt, at a very early date, such 
advantages would exist. It seems reasonable to think so. 
But indifference to their own rights, perhaps, and possibly 
the encroachments of surrounding " territories," " baronies," 
and " estates " of various denominations, quietly, in course 
of time may have dispossessed them ; and when the land 
came to be allotted, Oxton inhabitants would have no 
claim in law. Airhouse, Justicehall, and Heriotshall 
properties must be responsible for this, or perhaps the 
" lapsing " took place at an earlier time than when 
these divisions became definitive. 

In this condensed and necessarily formal account of the 
village we regret that we have been unable to say more 
regarding the people who have lived and died in it, and 
given it continuity of existence during so many hundred 
years. So far as we have been able to discern, no one 
of any remarkable name has risen from that ground. 
There arc, of course, many references to Oxton people in 
the Kirk Records and other sources, but these are chiefly 
in connection with matters peculiar to such documents, and 
do not flatter any one in particular. The poor, the 
Sabbath-breaker, the misfortunate, the frail, — each has his 
or her special niche in that " Temple of Fame " ; but this is 
* Acts and Decreets, 597, p. 148. 


a distinction which is shared by the same classes in a 
similar manner in almost every village and parish in the 
land. Lower down than the Kirk Records, in the realm 
of hearsay and tradition, we encounter weird and harrow- 
ing accounts of men and things which it may be charitable 
to forget. Beyond these sources all is silent, and the 
notables of Oxton, if there were ever any such, must 
remain unchronicled as well as unsung. We are not 
greatly surprised at this paucity of talent. Rarely have 
villages situated so far from the stimulating influences of 
life as Oxton is, produced full-grown greatness, or great- 
ness remarkable in any sense. There is a necessary 
debility and enervation in village environment which acts 
upon human nature like the stone above the blade of 
grass. The seed is there planted, but it is in a pot ; 
the bird is nurtured in a cage. There is a lack of 
stimulus and expansion, and the "noble rage" is repressed 
and the "genial currents of the soul" frozen. If the 
villager rises above the level of the village, he must seek 
his leverage outside of it. For it is not true that a man 
endowed with talents or genius will in any circumstances 
or place make his mark. A too hard shell will kill the 
chick, let the egg be of the noblest. 

So far as we have been able to estimate village character 
as it grows in Oxton, we do not think it differs in any 
respect from other villages of a like size and with similar 
disadvantages. Human life flows on its ordinary course 
between sunrises and sunsets, with but little variation from 
year to year. There are births, joyful or sad ; there are 
marriages, happy or miserable ; there are deaths, lingering or 
sudden. The three piers, Eat, Sleep, Work, carry the span of 
existence from the cradle to the grave. In the interstices and 

OXTON 393 

intervening spaces are packed the ordinary brick and rubble 
of the threescore years and ten. There is the usual quantum 
of interest in each other's affairs ; the usual hopes and fears 
of the term day ; now and then a dispute must be quieted in 
the Sheriff's court-room, which for a time creates vicious 
manners between the litigants and the rest of the inhabitants, 
who invariably take sides in the contest ; a political election, 
a school examination, a concert, a ball, a runaway horse, 
or such like, sends thrills more or less shocking through the 
body social which lies between the two " toon ends." Work 
is far from exacting, and as each is, as a rule, alone in his 
shop or workroom, he has the regulation of his rate of labour 
in his own hands. But although the work may be done with 
many restings, it is seldom altogether shirked for indulgences 
of a questionable nature. Few if any of the villagers throw 
down their work in a fit of wantonness to take up tankards 
and glasses in bibulous bouts during the day. Oxton is a 
village freer from cases of inebriation than any the writer has 
ever known. Sobriety, indeed, is characteristic of the whole 
parish. This does not mean, however, that it is totally free 
from vice. It has a bad reputation for certain forms of sin. 
We cannot place its moral tone very high, although it has 
its due share of true Christian worth. There are " wantons," 
and lapsers from church and school ; and too many " cases " 
which have to stand rebuke in the Kirk-Session. 

Apart from these defections of character, the people in 
general are industrious, frugal, respectable, and self-respect- 
ing. Many kind hearts are in the village, and, without 
mentioning piety, there are noble instances of a self-denying, 
Christ-like life. Several are the owners of their shops and 
dwellings, and can boast of a tocher in the bank. The work- 
ing men — and the village knows no other class — are 


remarkably intelligent and level-headed. They all read, 
and they reflect upon the matter they read. The newspapers 
are eagerly perused, some taking in a " daily " ; but many 
add more permanent literary treasures to their mental stores, 
and the Bible-class " essay," or the " paper " and " speech " at 
the Literary Society, amply prove that with favourable 
auspices and a higher ambition, any of the learned pro- 
fessions might be attained by them with ease and distinction. 
Perhaps their lack of aspiration to higher things is the char- 
acteristic most to be regretted. This is fostered, no doubt, 
by the spirit of hopelessness with which village lads usually 
regard the world beyond them. Going to strange homes, 
among strange people, to pursue a fortune never before 
attempted by his forbears, is a prospect which daunts the 
young heart, be it ever so brave ; and when his village 
shyness, and modesty, and clumsiness are brought alongside 
of the airs and appearance of some townified acquaintance, 
and he hears also the repeated fears of his parents dinned 
mournfully in his ears, together with the knowledge of a 
limited supply of money at his command, there is little 
wonder that any latent spark of ambition in him should be 
extinguished, and that instead of walking the stately 
corridors of the University, he is found whistling all his 
days at the plough, turning out wheel-barrows and cart- 
wheels, or thrashing tackets on a stool. 

The social side of life is one fairly well cultivated, 
although this is largely shared with the farm people in the 
surrounding district. Farm " hands " have no " harvest 
homes " or " kirns " in the parish, and duller farms, socially 
or convivially, it would be hard to find, and consequently the 
lads and lasses from the farms are always included in invita- 
tions to " social " meetings, and they steadily avail them- 

OXTON 395 

selves of these. No cold exclusiveness exists between the 
" metropolis " and the " provinces " ! The behaviour at 
gatherings of this kind is excellent. By mutual arrange- 
ment, " socials " are conducted " on teetotal principles," as 
it is termed, and thus there is nothing more exhilarating 
than dances and refreshments of a substantial nature to 
arouse latent differences into flame, even if these actually 
existed. There is no distinctive market or fair, annual or 
otherwise, held in the parish, nor can any trace of such be 
found in the past. The burgh of Lauder has always been 
the centre of attraction in matters of this kind, and it is yet 
the rendezvous for them twice a year at least. 

What, perhaps, helps to keep the sociable element 
specially active in the village, is the return, on occasions 
of such meetings, of the young folk who have had to seek 
employment beyond the bounds of their calf-ground. The 
sight of home and home faces naturally exalts the spirits 
of the " exiles," and their gaiety communicates itself to the 
rest, and renders these " socials " very hilarious indeed. But 
this evokes once more the regret that all the young people 
should require to seek the " distant scene " in which to earn 
a crust of bread. The young people are the life of a parish 
and district, and when they have to abandon their homes, they 
leave behind them faces graver because of their absence, and, 
for many, a grey seriousness hangs like a pall over hill and 
holm till they return. Were there a class of wealthy people, 
this condition of things might have some compensations. 
The lack of some class to respect beyond themselves is 
always hurtful to working people. They see no one to 
emulate or follow, the interest in their similar soon loses 
edge, and scorn of pretension and low pride is, of course, the 
reward of him who ventures his head out of the common 


ditch. All the heritors and all their representatives live out 
of the parish, and take small interest in its human affairs 
beyond drawing the rents. Rents of farms, rents of houses, 
and such like, become drained away, and the people derive 
no benefit from either the persons or the purses of those 
who partly live by their labours. There is consequently little 
circulation of money. This is rendered still worse by the 
fact that the wealthiest farmers follow the landlords' example. 
The poverty of the parish, in this way, soon stares at every 
one, as a consequence, in neglected, dreary farm-steadings, 
unslated and unwashed ; and when workpeople have to labour 
and live amid such dismal surroundings, under the commands 
of an inferior, they are apt to lose respect both for themselves 
and their place. 

It is a sunny spot, in the gloom of these circumstances, 
to see the strong attachment to their village shown by the 
youths who have been shoved out of their valley by " man's 
inhumanity to man." They return at "social" times as 
lively as swallows in summer, and renew friendships with 
deeper zest. They seem to forget all the causes of sundered 
homes and parted hearts, and it is only when graver episodes, 
such as sickness and funerals, call them to serious reflections, 
that the " absentee landlords," " led farms," and such like 
"grievances" come up, among much else, for disapproval 
and reprobation. 

In 1794 the Rev. Thomas Murray, minister of the parish 
of Channelkirk, wrote an account of it for the Old Statistical 
Account of Scotland, which was set agoing by Sir John 
Sinclair, but he mentions nothing specific regarding Oxton 
worth quoting. Neither does the New Statistical Account 
give more particulars. Nearly all the trades set down 
there may, however, be reasonably regarded as those of 

OXTON 397 

people living in Oxton. In 1794 there was one weaver 
and six tailors, two shoemakers, two smiths, one wright, 
three masons, and one gardener. Two of these occupations 
have vanished — the weaver and the gardener. There are 
three millers mentioned then, whose trade has also become 
a thing of the past. 

The trades actively represented in it at present are : 
Grocers, two ; blacksmiths, two ; tailors and clothiers, two ; 
shoemakers, two ; drapers, two ; joiners, one ; confectioners, 
one ; dressmakers, one ; bakers, one ; dykers, one ; roadmen, 

There are, moreover, several tradesmen who have 
abandoned their regular calling for labouring work, and 
several journeymen are employed in the shops enumerated 
in addition to those given. Several ploughmen, vanmen, 
mole-catchers, lodgers, etc., make up the rest of the village 
industries. The teacher is the sole representative of the 
professions, and the constable keeps all in awe of the majesty 
of government. 

The following lists may interest the present inhabitants : 

Resident Gentry in 1825.* 

Capt. James Scott, R.N., Channelkirk. 
George Somerville, Esq., J. P. 
Capt. James Somerville, of Airhouse. 

Merchants and Tradesmen^ etc. 

John Bell, shoemaker, Ugston. 
Malcolm McBean, shoemaker, Ugston. 
George Mitchell, shoemaker, Ugston. 
David Scott, shoemaker, Ugston. 
Andrew Campbell, draper, Ugston. 

♦ Pigot & Co.'s Directory. 


William Dalgleish, tailor, Ugston. 

John Murray, tailor, Ugston. 

Robert Glendinning, flesher, Ugston. 

John McDougal, master of the Parochial School, Ugston. 

NiCHOL DODDS, assistant master. Parochial School, Ugston. 

Thomas Donaldson, baker, Ugston. 

James Howden, cartwright, Ugston. 

George Mitchell, innkeeper and grocer, Ugston. 

James Lyall, innkeeper and grocer, Ugston. 

James Turnbull, innkeeper, Carfraemill. 

James Wood, senr., grocer, Ugston. 

James Wood, grocer, Ugston. 

William Lindsay, grocer, Ugston. 

Andrew Reid, blacksmith, Ugston. 

In 1866, the trades, etc., in Oxton were as under : * 

Bootmakers . . John Bell. 

David Scott. 

Thomas Scott. 
Cartwrights . . William Bell. 

John Campbell. 

Robert Watson. 
Grocers . . . James Mathewson. 

Robert Macintosh. 

Andrew Campbell. 

Robert Walkinshaw (also a spirit dealer). 
Milliner . . . Mary Ann Forrest. 
Blacksmiths . . John Murray, 

Alexander Reid. 

James N. Reid. 
Tailors and Clothiers William Waddell. 

Adam Richardson. 

John Waddell. 
Drapers . . . James Swan. 

Adam Watson. 
Baker . . . John Scott. 

One or two things connected with the village might be 
considered worthy of perusal. And first, as to religion. 
Dissent once flourished in Oxton, and had its "church," 
* Rutherford's Southern Counties' Register and Directory. 

OXTON 399 

and passed through the usual period of struggle and 
martyrdom. Some one has said that Presbyterianism is 
never happier than when in a condition of distress and 
wringing of its hands. There was in 175 1 a zealous band 
of anti-burghers in Oxton belonging to Stow congregation. 
They petitioned the Presbytery of Edinburgh for a 
separate "supply of sermon," and this was granted. They 
then worshipped in the open air, and in barns as "pain- 
fully" as possible, for, as a rule, the more gruesome the 
circumstances of worship, the deeper the conviction obtains 
that '* this is none other than the house of God ! " 
Ultimately, it appears they became decently housed in the 
two-storey building adjoining Mr Alex. Reid's smithy, to 
the west, at the top of the village, and there " protested " 
to their heart's content. This Shiloh was not very well 
supported by Oxton inhabitants by-and-by, and soon the 
majority was observed to be mostly composed of people 
from Lauder and its vicinity, who on reflection thought 
they might sensibly spare both their zeal and their legs 
if they built a " meeting house " there. This was done in 
1758, and the Oxton congregation, which had hitherto been 
under the wing of Stow, from this date became changed 
to that of Lauder. Oxton, therefore, can boast of once 
possessing a " mother church ! " 

"Oxton Friendly Society," established in 1801, for 
meeting the exigencies of sickness and death among the 
working people, and " Oxton Total Abstinence Society," 
instituted in 1840, have both lapsed for many years. This 
must also be said of the " Parochial Library " located in 
Oxton, and more recently extinct. 

Another institution which has had a more permanent 
life than the above is Oxton Friendly Bovial Society, 


which held its first meeting on the nth of May 1839, 
and still continues to flourish. It was formed for the 
laudable purpose of mutual assistance in case of loss of 
cows from disease or accident. But it has often served 
the purpose also of social celebrations, and in uniting 
classes of men in pleasant reunions whose interests and 
occupations keep them apart, and pleasant memories and 
merry associations are often recalled in connection with it. 
So much for the past. At present high expectations 
are being fostered that a new era is at hand for the 
ancient village with the advent of the railway. The old 
order must change, it is felt ; and few will regret to have 
it .so. The locality is one which is much appreciated by 
summer visitors, and even with the present difficulties to 
encounter, is taxed to find accommodation for those who 
come. With travelling facilities on a level with modern 
comforts, and with a new water-supply now in process of 
construction, there is little doubt that building will increase, 
population multiply, and trades expand, and perhaps the 
whole face of the valley as well as of the village undergo 
a complete transformation in the coming generations. We 
feel confident that the knowledge of its early history will 
not detract from, but rather enhance, the modern amenities 
of the old place, for although it has given no great name 
to the world, and written no bold letters on the page of 
history, it is yet intimately associated with the interests 
and fortunes of some of Scotland's most memorable families. 
" History is made up of what is little as well as of what is 
great, of what is common as well as of what is strange, of 
what is counted mean as well as of what is counted 
noble." * One has sometimes beheld a tiny stream wind 
* Flint's Philosophy of History, p. 8. 

OXTON 401 

a not uninteresting course through a broad plain, whose 
noble beauty and varied expanse almost prevented the 
eye from seeing the silvery band of soft meandering 
water ; so the dim annalistic course of our little village 
has flowed onwards through the wide vista of national 
history, unobtrusive and chequered, yet now and then 
throwing up its bits of clear light, and here and there 
casting back some broken reflection of the images of men 
who were moulding in the impassioned spheres of human 
life and sorrow the stern character of their time and 

2 C 


THE BARONIES — Continued. 

The name "Carfrae" — Ancient Boundaries of Carfrae Lands — The 
Sinclairs of Herdmanston — Serfdom at Carfrae — Division of 
Lands — The Homes — The Maitlands — The Haigs of Bemersyde 
and Hazeldean — The Tweeddales and Carfrae — Tenants — Robert 
Hogarth — The Wights — Headshaw — Herniecleuch — Hazeldean — 
Friarsknowes — Fairnielees — Hillhouse — Kelphope — Tollishill. 

Carfrae is in some respects the most notable place in 
Upper Lauderdale. It has always preserved in its name 
and situation a certain distinction both with respect to 
its strategic importance as a stronghold in ancient times, 
and its territorial connection with the proudest names in 
Scottish history. All other landed properties in Channel- 
kirk parish have, with the passing of the centuries, slowly 
declined from the gilded levels of aristocratic possession 
to the less lustrous, if more practical, regions of the com- 
moner ; but Carfrae, undoubtedly notable when the 
Brythonic Ottadini entrenched themselves on its woody 
heights, before Roman, Saxon, or Dane had visited the 
sources of the Leader, has never, since the era of record, 
brooked a humbler name on its charters than those which 
belong to the nation's oldest families and are impressed 
on many a page of its political annals 


When its position is considered as commanding the 
only two reasonable passes from Upper Lauderdale into 
Lothian by way of Glengelt and Kelphope glens, and its 
height on the promontory of land at their junction, it is 
not surprising to find its history, long before it is chronicled 
in records, to have been a warlike one, or to discover this 
belligerent character as clearly written in its camp or camps, 
as it is deeply stamped upon its name. Two ancient camps 
stand boldly out almost within arrow-flight of each other, 
on steep heights that must have rendered them formidable 
places of defence in those far-away days of barbarous 
conflict ; and whatever date may be assigned to their con- 
struction, there can be no doubt as to their hostile purpose, 
and the name still further bears witness that Carfrae was 
originally a place of " derring doe," and doubtless the scene 
of many a bloody encounter. 

The earliest form of the name is Carfra. It is Celtic. 
Carfrae is probably Caer and some name which cannot 
be identified, but also, probably, Brythonic (Welsh) rather 
than Goidelic (Gaelic). The earliest known inhabitants of 
our district were Otadini, a Celtic people of the Brythonic * 
or Welsh branch, speaking the Welsh dialect in contradis- 
tinction to the Gaelic ; and caer, in Welsh, means fort^ 
or, according to Camden, " a fortified place or city." As 
Carfrae is perhaps the only place in Lauderdale which by 
its name is distinguished as a Brythonic stronghold, so 
we may likewise, perhaps on that ground, assume that it is 
also the oldest. For similar ancient "camps," "forts," or 
strongholds scattered throughout the dale denominated 
" Chester," are not by that name considered as pointing 
to a Roman, but a Saxon origin, and therefore several 
* CelHc Britain^ p. 221, 



centuries later than the earHest mention of the Brythons 
in the Leader district, who were the inhabitants conquered 
by both. " ' Cester ' was thoroughly established among the 
Saxons in England at a very early period," says Dr 
Christison, and he is of opinion that they, and not the 
Romans, introduced it into Scotland.* 

Carfrae comes first before us historically in a charter 
granted {cir. 1196) by William de Moreville, Lord of 
Lauderdale, to Henry de Saint Clair, of the lands of Carfra. 
The boundaries given are now of course very dim on 
account of the place-names which define them, being all but 
obliterated. We give the Latin description as follows : — 

" Sicut Langilde se jungit ad Mosburne et illinc descendit 
usque ad Ledre et ex superiori parte sicut Mosburn ascendit 
usque ad Venneshende et de Venneshende usque ad Sumu- 
indnight illinc per descendum usque ad viam de Glengelt 
et illinc usque Ledre." This may be Englished — " From 
where Langilde (now Langat) joins itself to Mosburn (now 
Kelphope Water), and thence descends to the Leader. 
And on the upper part, from where Mosburn ascends to 
Venneshende, and from Venneshende to Sumuindnight, 
thence by descent to the road from Glengelt, and so to the 
Leader." The starting-point of the description is the place 
nearest Carfrae which had a distinct locality and character. 
" Langild " turns up in several old charters. The ruins of 
it still stand, or recently were standing, not many years 
ago, and the mimulus from its garden yet grow luxuriantly 
by the stream which swept them out on its way to join 
the Kelphope Water (Mosburn). From Langat the 
boundary follows Mosburn (Kelphope Water) clear down to 
the Leader, that is, to Carfraemill, or to the Leader's banks. 
* Early Fortifications^ pp. 105-6. 



>7 405 

Instead of continuing round by\ 

IT . , AGlengelt, the opposite 
course is now pursued, in actual laK ^ 

that the boundaries are declared by T\ ,c 

4- J- 4. T 4. ■4.U w cu -a- u W Morville himself 

standing at Langat with his bherin, Henr^ . . 

and their retinues, and pointing first one ■\i. 
and then to the right. All marches in those ^ 
perambulated personally. Consequently, after sh^ 
march from Langat to the Leader on his left ha: ^ 
begins again at where he is standing, and describes \' 
" higher part " (superiori parte). From Langat the mara 
follows Mosburn as it goes up (ascendit) to Venneshende. - 
Venneshende may have been a place near Friarsknowes, \ 
or more probably towards Lammer Law, for in a later 
confirmation of this charter by Roland, Lord Galloway, 
the march is described as proceeding "from the head of 
Langat to the boundaries of Lothian, towards Lamber- 
lawe " (de capite de Langild usque ad divisas de Laodonia 
versus Lamberlawe). Venneshende, therefore, may have 
been a place much further " towards Lamberlawe " than 
Friarsknowes. Thence the march of Carfrae lands pro- 
ceeds to another unknown place called, strangely enough, 
Sumuindnight. It is distinguished from the other places 
mentioned by the absence of " ascending " or "descending" 
joined to it, phrases which suit exactly the nature of the 
ground in the other cases. We therefore surmise it must 
have lain to the west of the Lammer Law in the direction 
of Huntershall, or the Den, across a comparatively level 
expanse of hilly moorland. From this place, the march 
now " descends " to the road from Glengelt, or Glengelt 
Road, and so following Glengelt Road down to the Leader 
or Headshaw Burn. 

The outline, although somewhat vague, is yet clear enough 


y y 




to define the lands of Carfrae, which to-day do not differ 
far in essentials from the description given in De Morville's 
charter. This was t/D be expected on account of these lands 
having so seldom -changed owners during 700 years. Head- 
shaw was thus included in Carfrae boundaries, and all the 
land on the v-east of Headshaw water. Glengelt estate never 
seems to^'have crossed that stream at any time within the 

C '' 

view ov 'history, though it gave its name for long to the hills 
extprfiding from Carfraemill to Lammer Law. 

Carfrae estate as thus bounded was given about and 
before the year 1196, "to be held from me (William de 
Moreville) and my heirs, by him (Henry de Saintclair), and 
j_ his heirs, in fee and heritage, in land and water, in meadows 

r" and pastures, and wood and plain, and without the forest, 

/ freely and quietly, for the service of one knight." 

" I concede likewise to him, as in his fee, his mill (Carfrae 
Mill) held without multure. 

" I concede to him that no one shall use his land or 
pasture or his wood unless he permit, yet at the same time 
that we shall mutually use the common pasture-land of our 

This charter was afterwards confirmed by Rolland, Earl of 
Galloway, who married the granter's sister Ellen, and got 
Lauderdale lands with her, to Allan de Saintclair of Carfrae, 
who was married to Mathilda of Windesour ; and in 1434 " ane 
instrument " of it is taken by John Saintclair of Hermiston. 

Herdmanston came into the hands of Henry de Sinclair 
in 1 162 by charter from Richard de Morville, Lord of Lauder- 
dale. The Morevilles had acquired vast possessions in 
Lothian, Lauderdale, and Cunninghame, and Sir Henry, 
Sheriff to Richard, seems to have been a favourite. The 
Sinclairs of Herdmanston, and later of Carfrae, " are thus 


entitled to be considered as the first family in point of 
antiquity in the county of Haddington." 

The fortunes of Carfrae were henceforth bound up in 
those of the honourable family of Herdmanston, and its lands 
do not seem to have been separated in any way until, 
perhaps, the close of the fifteenth century. 

From the fact that John de Sauncler received liberty to 
build chapels at Hirdmanston and Carfrae, and to have 
private chaplains at each for behoof of his own people, we 
surmise that Carfrae must have long been a residence of the 
Sinclairs. That Sinclair of Carfrae was also the Sheriff of 
the High Constable of Scotland would give the place both 
social and political pre-eminence over the other residences of 
Upper Lauderdale. But it would be difficult to say at what 
particular time this John de Sauncler lived, and consequently 
the time when Carfrae was at its best. There is a John de 
Sinclair of Herdmanston in the Arbroath charters, of date 
1 248, who succeeded to Allan de Sinclair in the estates, and 
who may be identical with the above, but there is a John of 
Herdmanston, also of date 1296, who does homage to 
Edward I., and yet another of 1542 who witnesses in the 
Roslyn charters. We are inclined to accept 1248 as the 
period when Carfrae rose to highest importance as a 
residence, although this seems to have been sustained to a 
much later time when it received the status of a barony. 

As far back as the years 1162-66, there is a charter which 
gives a pathetic insight into the conditions of peasant life 
then prevalent in Lauderdale.* Richard de Moreville sold 
to Sir Henry St Clair, Edmund, the son of Bonda, and 
Gillemichel, his brother, their sons and daughters, and all 
their progeny, for the sum of three merks (40s.), and it 
* Dipiomata Scotia^ P- 75- 


is also stipulated that if St Clair ever parts with them 
willingly, they are to return to the overlordship of De 

Perhaps this serfdom was not actually so debasing in 
practice as it seems to us now, viewing it from our nineteenth 
century heights of freedom and rights of contract. The 
advantages of defence were then likely to be more valued 
than freedom to wander anywhere and work to any master. 
By being thirled to the land, the lord of the barony stood 
pledged to defend his nativi with all his power ; and the 
picture of the strongly-defended castle surrounded with its 
wooden huts and occupying bondmen, bound to common 
interests and mutual protection, has a certain air of com- 
munal association which is neither harsh nor tyrannical. 
Guizot declares, regarding the feudalism which prevailed 
from the tenth to the thirteenth century : " It is impossible to 
mistake the great and salutary influence exerted by it upon 
the development of sentiments, characters, and ideas. We 
cannot look into the history of this period without meeting 
with a crowd of noble sentiments, great actions, fine displays 
of humanity, born evidently in the bosom of feudal manners."* 

From the above names, Edmund (Saxon), and Gillemichel 
(Gaelic), we might be led to infer that intermixture of the 
races had begun. We are told that Simeon of Durham, who 
died in 1 1 30, narrates that the Scotch made inroads upon 
the English and made slaves of them, " so that even to this 
day, I do not say no little village, but even no cottage, can 
be found without one of them, f The ancient race, native to 
the land, was also enslaved by the Saxons, and thus the 

* Guizot's History of Civilisation^ vol. i., p. 81. Bogue's European 

f Celtic Scotland, vol. i., p. 422. 

CARFllAE 40d 

intermingling of Saxon and Gaelic names among Carfrae 
bondmen becomes clear to us. 

Sir William Sinclair of Herdmanston was distinguished 
for great gallantry on the field of Bannockburn. He then 
conducted himself so bravely as to earn the high admiration 
of King Robert the Bruce. The King presented him with a 
sword with the words engraved on it : " La Roi me donne, 
St Clair me poste" — "The King gives me, St Clair carries 
me." He fell fighting the Moors in Spain, while accompany- 
ing the good Lord James, Earl of Douglas, who bore the 
heart of his royal master to the Holy Land. 

About the year 1380 Sir William de Abernethy be- 
queaths the Mill of Ulkeston (Oxton) to the Abbey of 
Dryburgh, and among other witnesses to this charter we 
have the name of " Adam, Milneknave of Carfrae." * The 
mill-knave was under-miller, and as we have seen the Mill 
of Carfrae about the year 1196, the first sight of one of its 
millers nearly two hundred years afterwards is not without 
interest. We conclude that Milneknave is not a surname, 
though surnames are given to some of the other witnesses, 
because he is styled " de Carfrae," and such territorial 
designation could not have been given to any one except 
a Sinclair. 

A change seems to have taken place about the middle of 
the fifteenth century, which had the effect of narrowing the 
lands hitherto denominated " of Carfrae." Sir Patrick Home 
of Polwart, second son of David Home, younger of Wedder- 
burn, had an elder brother George, who was retoured heir of 
his grandfather in that barony the 12th of May 1469. These 
two brothers, George of Wedderburn and Sir Patrick of 
Polwart, married two sisters, Marion and Margaret respec- 
* Dryburgh Register, No. 312. 


tively, who were daughters of Sir John Sinclair of Herd- 
manston and Carfrae, and who Hkewise were the co-heiresses 
of their father's estates in at least Polwart and Kimmerg- 
hame. When Sir John died, apparently in 1468, strife broke 
out between (his son) William Sinclair and the two sisters, 
wives of Wedderburn and Polwart, and the case in 1471 
went to law. * They accused him of wrongous withholding 
of certain charters and evidents of the lands of Hirdman- 
ston, Carfra, and Pencaitland, Templefield, Polwarth, and 
Kymmerghame, and a reversion of Hateschaw (Headshaw), 
and Medil (Midlie), and of withholding of certain goods of 
heirship pertaining to them. Being a case of fee and 
heritage, it was referred to the Lords of Parliament. 

In 1494 we ascertain from another lawsuit, which 
concerns Headshaw more particularly, that Headshaw was 
in the superiority of the above George Home of Wedder- 
burn, husband of Marion Sinclair of Herdmanston, and 
Headshaw being within Carfrae territory, had evidently 
gone to him as his wife's share in the estate, f 

At Stirling, 27th June 1545, Queen Mary confirms to 
John Sinclair of Hirdmanstoun and Margaret Sinclair his 
wife, the home lands of Hirdmanstoun, two parts of the 
Mains of Pencaitland called Coddikis, etc., etc., and two 
parts of the lands and steading of Carfray and Mill in 
Lauderdale, and by annexation within the barony of 
Hirdmanstoun. I The other parts of Carfrae are evidently 
at this time separated from the Sinclair interest, and pre- 
sumably these were Headshaw and others which were in 
the hands of the Homes. 

* Acta Dominoruin Auditorum. 
t Acta Dotninorum Concilii. 
X Great Seal. 


In 1567 the above John Sinclair seems to be dead, and 
Sir Wm. Sinclair enters upon possession, but Margaret 
Sinclair, who was joined in the feu with her husband, retains 
the two parts of Carfrae and Mill as above. * 

Carfrae in 1569 comes under the influence of a name 
which was destined to rise high in the political offices of 
the nation. In that year, at the city of St Andrews, on the 
1 6th of May, the young King James confirms the charter of 
Sir William Sinclair of Hirdmestoun, in which, for a sum of 
money paid, he sold to Mary Maitland, daughter of Sir 
Richard Maitland of Lethington (now Lennoxlove), the 
annual income of 1 10 marks {£7$, 6s. 8d.) from his barony 
of Hirdmestoun, viz., from the lands of Hirdmestoun, the 
home lands, the mains and mills of the same, the lands of 
Wester Pencaitland with woods and mill, as well as from 
the lands of Carfray with mill, in the bailiary of Lauderdale, 
but within the sheriffdom and constabulary of Edinburgh by 
annexation, holding from the King by the said Mary and her 
legitimate heirs, whom failing, by the said Richard and his 
heirs, -f* 

The Maitland family have slowly crept into the place and 
power in Lauderdale which were anciently held by the De 
Morvilles, and in thus, in a sense, returning to them, even 
though as bond, Carfrae was, as it were, coming back to 
the original status which it enjoyed before the Sinclairs of 
Herdmanstoun possessed it. This also appears to be the 
first time that any Maitland obtained a landed interest in 
Channelkirk parish. 

The above Sir Richard Maitland, father of Mary, is well 
known for his honourable connection with poetic literature. 
He is the " Auld Lettingtoun," " the old Larde of Lething- 
* Exchequer Rolls. t Great Seal. 


toun " of Knox's History. * He was a worthy descendant 
of the "Auld Maitland" of the thirteenth century, who 
defended his castle so doughtily, and who was as devout as 
he was brave. Robert Maitland, descended from the " grey- 
haired knight," appears to have acquired the lands of 
Lethington about the close of the fourteenth century from 
the Giffords of that Ilk. From Robert, in successive genera- 
tion, there were William, and from William, John, and from 
John another William who was the father of the poet. Sir 
Richard, "the old larde," born in 1496. 

Sir Richard was married about 1530 to Mary Cranston, 
daughter of Sir Thomas Cranston of Crosby, a younger 
branch of the Cranston House, and had seven sons and 
four daughters. Mary, who obtains from Sir William 
Sinclair the annual return of no merks from his estate, 
as above, was Sir Richard's third daughter, and was married 
to Alexander Lauder of Hatton. 

At Hirdmanston, on the 20th March 1580, Sir William 
Sinclair grants to Lady Sybil Cockburn, his wife, in liferent, 
his lands of Carfrae, with manor, mansion, homelands, mill, 
and Rigside, with privilege of Carfra Common. This is 
confirmed on 17th February 1593, with some other favours. 
Carfrae, with mill and all pertinents, is again, on the death, 
evidently, of Sir William, conveyed in 1629 to Sir John 
Sinclair of Hirdmanston, and Elizabeth Sinclair, his future 
wife (who was daughter of John Sinclair of Stevinstoun, 
merchant and bailie in Edinburgh), in conjunct fee, and to 
their heirs legitimate. In 1590 Murray of Blackbarony was 
security in 50CXD merks that the Laird of Philiphaugh would 
not harm Sir William Sinclair of Hirdmanston. In 1641, on 

* Vol. ii., p. 403 ; vol. i., p. 97. See also Ballad of "Auld Maitland," 
and Scott's Marmion, notes. 


15th November, the King confirms and de novo gives to 
Sir John Sinclair (among others) Carfrae lands, with manor 
place, mill, holdings, etc., in Lauderdale, in the barony of 

Returning for a little to the year 1632, we learn from the 
Decreet of the High Commission of that date that Sir John 
Sinclair of Herdmanston held, in this parish, Carfrae and 
Midlie, Fairnlees, Hillhouse, Hirniecleuch, and Carfrae Mill, 
and mill lands.* One place, Hizildans, originally in Carfrae 
lands, and from which the minister at that time drew stipend, 
is not mentioned as being Sir John's. The reason is that 
Hizildans was then in the possession of the Haigs of Bemer- 
syde. Thus the Homes had cut Headshaw out of the estate 
on the west, and the Haigs had sliced off Hizildans on the 
east. In 1617, on 17th December, James Haig of Bemersyde 
is retoured heir of Robert Haig, his father, in the lands of 
Hissildans, in the barony of Hermestoune, lordship of 
Carfra.+ Sir Henry Sinclair of Carfra had a daughter, Ada, 
who married (about 1200) Peter de Haig of Bemersyde, the 
second of that name. It is curious to find this early interest 
in Carfrae still clinging to the Haigs of the seventeenth 
century, four hundred years later. Hissildans was then 
"of I OS. taxt value, auld extent; and 40s. new extent." 
This James Haig, heir of Hissildans in 1617, is notable in his 
way. Fierce and headstrong during his reign in Bemersyde, 
he gave ample proof that a man may maintain his rights 
without help from any laws except what reside within his 
own stout heart and arm. He ran away with the Laird of 
Stodrig's daughter to begin with, for which he just escaped 
his father's dagger. He did not, however, escape the old 
man's curse, "which followed him to his grave." Indeed, 
* Decreet of Locality^ p. 239. f Retours. 


the advent of James on the historic scene was, to all appear- 
ance, the beginning of the declension of the house of 
Bemersyde. Contracts and agreements had no reverence 
for James when they thwarted his wishes, and having braved 
all public respect, and deranged the peace of his father's 
house, to quarrel also with his neighbours was almost 
inevitable. Haliburton, the Laird of Mertoun, and he, had 
their properties joining in the vicinity of Bemersyde Loch, 
and the watery marshes, instead of imparting a cooling 
atmosphere to the two boundaries, became, ultimately, a 
veritable calorific geyser, which spouted such intolerable 
hot waters over both the houses of Bemersyde and Mertoun 
as literally to stew them alive. We shall leave it to Anthony 
Haig to tell the story. The little touches of old Adam are 
peculiar to the days. He was the grandson of James Haig 
of Hissildans. After describing the disputed boundaries, 
and showing us that they are yet " visiabbly merched with 
ston," he says : — " It will not be amise to show you what 
one pased betwixt my guidser and the Laird of Marton 
then liveing. Marton wold faine have stolne a prevelidge 
beyound those march stons, and for that end caused on of 
his men com upe and cast some diffits beyound the march. 
My grandfather, hearing thereof, cam to the fellow, brock his 
head, toke from him his spade ; at which Marton was greatly 
offended, and on day going to Coldenknowes with on 
Thomas Helliburton with him, he bravadingly crost the 
rigges befor the Laird of Bemersyde's door, which he seeing, 
told him he would be in his comon (would be so obliged to 
him ! ) if he would com that way backe againe. He said 
he would, and accordingly did so ; whom, when my grand- 
father saw, caled to his son James to bring him his gune, 
which the boy did — cam out, and ther pased some words 


betwixt them, upon which Martone did bid my guidsire in 
derision shott at his a — e with drops, and held it upe. He 
had no soner spak the word then he shott him with the wholl 
grath in his a — e ; upon which he fald of his horse, and the 
uther Helliburton coming upon with his sword to him, he 
tourned about the but end of his peac, and struke him doune, 
so that he was forcsed to send them both home cared (carried) 
in blankets. But this proved noways advantagious to the 
2 families, for ever after ther remained heart-burnings 
betwixt the two houses, so that the countrie people observed 
it layed the foundation of runeing of both the families." * 
They were merry in those days ! 

Carfrae lands seem to have passed from the Sinclairs of 
Herdmanston to the Maitlands of Lauderdale between 1641 
and 1650, at which latter date they again passed finally into 
the Tweeddale family. This appears from a Charter of 
Resignation and Novodamus under the Great Seal, in favour 
of John, Lord Hay of Yester, and his heirs male, and of 
tailzie, specified in the infeftments of the lands of Yester, 
dated 24th June, and sealed 2nd July 1650. This charter 
bears to proceed, partly upon a Procuratory of Resignation 
contained in a Disposition by John, Earl (afterwards, in 1672, 
Duke) of Lauderdale, eldest son and heir of John, Earl of 
Lauderdale, in favour of Sir Adam Hepburn of Humbie, 
dated 27th May 1650, and partly upon an apprising, dated 
26th March 1650, against John, first Earl of Tweeddale, 
at the instance of Dr Alexander Ramsay, physician to 
Charles I. 

Carfrae lands still remain in the possession of the Tweed- 
dales. We find them denominated in 1676, " the lands and 
barony of Carfrae," t and Carfrae is frequently so designated 
* Haigs of Bemersyde, p. 476. f Retours. 


after that date. Before that time it is spoken of as "the 
lordship of Carfrae." 

The earHest mentioned tenant in Carfrae is James Somer- 
ville in 17 14. He acquired Airhouse estate at this time. 
There seem to have been Somervilles tenants in Carfrae 
onwards till 1771. George Somerville was tenant there in 
1744, and perhaps for some time previous to that year. He 
assigned, in 1758, one-third of the farm to his son Alexander, 
on his marriage with Janet Stevenson. The son of this 
couple, Simon Somerville, was of some note in his day. He 
was their eldest son, and was born at Carfrae in 1767. 
Taught at Channelkirk parish school, and then at Duns, he 
studied for the dissenting ministry in Edinburgh, and was 
licensed in 1790. He was called to Barrie in 1791, and to 
Elgin in 1805, where he originated the Elgin and Morayshire 
Bible Society about 1820. He died in 1839.* His father, 
George Somerville, would appear to have removed to 
Kirktonhill Farm about 1771, as in this year we find Robert 
Hogarth " tenant in Carfrae." Mr Somerville was " made an 
elder" in Channelkirk Church in 1744, and was for long the 
treasurer of the Session's funds. He died in Kirktonhill in 

Much interest attaches to the tenancy of Carfrae by the 
above Robert Hogarth, as his coming to the parish created 
something like a revolution in the methods of farming in the 
district. Writing in 1794 for the Old Statistical Account, the 
Rev. Thomas Murray says regarding him : — " Agriculture 
has made wonderful progress within these last twenty years 
in this parish. This has been chiefly owing to the skill and 
attention of one individual, Mr Robert Hogarth, tenant in 
Carfrae. He came twenty-five years ago from East Berwick- 
* United Secession Magazine, April 1840. 


shire. At this period our farmers were total strangers to the 
turnip, and very little acquainted with the lime and sown- 
grass system. He introduced turnip and clover, and suc- 
ceeded. It is now very general to grow turnips, and in no 
part of Berwickshire is it in greater quantity, or of better 
quality, on the same extent of land. He also introduced the 
white-faced, long-wooled sheep from Northumberland, and 
they promise to answer well." Mr Hogarth is also credited 
with the introduction of the potato into the district, but this 
was later, about 1780. Bruce, in his Appendix to Lowe's 
Agriculture of Berwickshire (July 1794), notes that Robert 
Hogarth, in Carfrae, " has made astonishing changes upon 
a large tract of very high wild country." 

We have heard it said that he was of the family of 
Hogarths which gave Charles Dickens his wife, but we have 
been unable to verify the assertion. The Parish Records of 
his time show him to have been a man of influence and 
leading among his class, although not always amenable to 
counsel from the kirk. He is reputed to have been a strict 
manager on his farm, but not quite competent to combat 
the ways and wit of some of his ploughmen. It is related 
that one of his " hands," who loved his " miry beasts " as 
dearly as men are enjoined to love their neighbour, believed 
that the allowance of corn granted by Hogarth was in- 
sufficient to meet their wants, and he was in the habit of 
purloining extra quantities when an opportunity served, 
to make up the rather scrimp measure. Hogarth resented 
this as wanton insubordination and waste, and repeatedly 
cautioned the ploughman to desist, else worse would befall 
him. But the affection of the hind for his horses was 
.stronger than his dread of " the maister," and he continued 
pilfering the forbidden " heapit stimpart." Hogarth was 

2 D 


just as determined to " put him down." One day while 
this spirit of dog-watch-the-cat prevailed, the farm hands 
were all set on to thresh the stacks through the mill. 
Accordingly, sack after sack of oats was filled and set past, 
and the ploughman, seeing the abundance, remembered 
his starved horses, as he believed, and resolved to abstract 
one of the sacks to the loft above the stables where the 
hinds of those days were wont to sleep at night. He com- 
municated his design to the two women workers who were 
assisting in storing the sacks, and implicated them so far 
in the felonious act by obtaining their help to shove the 
sack on his shoulders from behind, as he carried it upstairs 
to the floor above. But the loft door was narrow, and the 
ploughman and the sack rather bulky, and, moreover, the 
more haste produced less speed, while in the midst of the 
tugging and shoving of the bag by the man above and the 
women below, who should come into the barn but the 
farmer ! The women thus caught slunk away abashed, 
and Mr Hogarth, rejoicing in his opportunity, stepped 
forward .into their place and began to push up the sack 
which the ploughman, all unaware of the substitute, was 
in vain struggling above to extricate from its tight fittings. 
The women below dared not reveal to him the altered 
condition of things, and he, supposing the farmer to be 
far afield, exhorted them vociferously " Shove, ye deevils ; 
shove up ! the auld skinflint '11 be in an' catch us. Lord's 
sake, shove, can ye no ! " The extra pressure was soon 
applied by the farmer, and the sack was victoriously de- 
posited in the loft. The consternation of the ploughman 
may be conceived when the actual circumstances stood 
revealed to him. "Ye're in for't this time," quoth "the 
maister " ; " I'll ' skinflint ' ye, an' no mistake. Ye'll gang 


afore the Shirra for this, sir." And Mr Hogarth kept his 
word. The summons was served, the Court day at Lauder 
arrived, and the two parties prepared to " gang before their 
betters." But unconcernedly the ploughman was seen out 
in the field ploughing as usual, and Hogarth, thinking his 
man had forgotten the exact day, went across the rigs to 
remind him. " Oh, I'm mindin' weel aneuch," quoth the 
ploughman, " I'll be doon in time, nae fears," It was six 
miles to Lauder Burgh Court-room, where the trial was 
to be held. How he was to walk there in time was a puzzle 
to the farmer, but he himself deemed it his duty to appear 
at the bar, and hurried off afoot. When about half distance 
he heard a great clattering of horses behind him, and, 
turning round, beheld his man riding his " pair " at a fast 
rate. " What's this o't ? " inquired the master. " What 
use are the horses in the case? They should have been 
resting now in the stable instead of racing in this daft 
manner. What do you mean ? " The workman's wit 
was equal to the occasion, " I wad consider, sir," said he, 
" that the horses are resetters in this thievin' business, and 
the Shirra may need to examine them as weel's me. The 
resetter's as bad's the thief, ye ken ! " The farmer, who 
had really intended to give John but a " scare," grasped the 
humour of the situation and bestrode the other horse, en- 
couraging John to keep his seat, and together the belligerents 
rode on to Lauder. But they did not enter the Court-room. 
They were seen going to an inn, and in due time men 
and horses were being regaled with the best fare it afforded. 
On coming home at night the rumour went abroad that the 
case had been " a hard yin," and the sentence " heavy," and 
" the Shirra jist terrible," but the " resetters " knew for 
certain that they had carried home to Carfrae the "thief" 


and " the maister " as merry as two men could possibly 
be. It is handed down that Mr Hogarth often afterwards 
related this incident at social parties with great delight. 

In 1816 he heads the petition to the Presbytery by 
the parishioners to have the church removed to some place 
near Oxton. Two brothers, named Milne, followed him in 
the tenancy and held Carfrae till 1839. In this year, Mr 
William Wight, father of the present tenant, obtained the 
'lease and held it till his death in 1868. George Wight, his 
son, began his tenancy then, and still farms Carfrae, We 
cannot refrain from remarking that the name of Wight 
is one of the oldest in Upper Lauderdale, and it is also 
one that in no instance is found with a shadow upon it. In 
1650 William Wight was " elder and deacon " in Channel- 
kirk Church. So also at the same time was Robert Wight. 
The former was probably the "tenant in Glengelt," who 
died in 1682, and whose tombstone stands in the south- 
west corner of Channelkirk churchyard. There is a George 
Wight, "elder," here in 1744, and probably the same person 
who became tenant in Stobshiel Farm, and was buried from 
there in this churchyard in 1756. The name has continued 
in Upper Lauderdale to the present day, and has always 
been held in the highest respect. (See chapter on " An- 
tiquities " for other matters relating to Carfrae). 


Headshaw was originally included in the lands of 
Carfrae, but along with Medil, Midlie, or Middlemas, is 
found to be a separate property in the fifteenth century. 
The Sinclairs of Herdmanston must have been possessors 
of its grounds from about 1 196, although it may not have 
been a separate farm till much later. Its earliest mention 


as such is in 147 1. About that time it would appear to 
have passed into the hands of Sir George Home of Wedder- 
burn, and Sir Patrick Home of Polwart, as part dowry of 
their respective wives, Marion and Margaret Sinclair, 
daughters and co-heiresses of Sir John Sinclair of Herd- 
manston, each of whom received half of Headshaw, Sir 
George was the eldest of the " seven spears of Wedder- 
burn," and fell with his father, Sir David, at the battle of 
Flodden, 15 13. 

" And when the sun was westering 
On Flodden's crested height, 
The Seven Spears of Wedderburn 
Gave first shock in the fight." 

On the 30th of June 1494 James Logan, who was then 
tenant-laird of Headshaw, takes Sir George Home to law 
" for the wrangwis spoliation, away-takeing, and withhalden 
fra him out of the landis of Haitschaw of XIX oxin, 
and for costis and scathis. Baith the saidis pairties beeind 
personally present, it wes allegiit be the said George and the 
advocatis of our souvraine lord that the saidis landis of 
Haitschaw wer in our sovrane lordis handis be the non-entry 
of John Edmonston of that Ilk to the superiority of the 
samyn landis of Haitschaw, and that the said oxin wer taken 
for a parte of the malez and proffitis thereof The lordis 
of Consale therefore ordinis the said James Logane to 
summonde the said Johnne of Edmonstone to the VIII 
day of Oct. nixt to come with quotacioun of dais to produce 
and preif his entra to the superiority of the saidis landis : 
and also to summonde him for the dampnage, costis, and 
scathis that the said James sustenis in his default."* 

* Acta Dominorum Concilii. 


The entire dispute was about non-entry to the 
superiority. This is a law-term which would be far better 
explained by a lawyer, but we venture to offer the follow- 
ing. In the original grant of Carfrae Estate by William 
de Morville to Henry de Saintclair, his Sheriff, the service 
of one knight was made the condition of holding it. Sir 
George Home of Wedderburn having received Headshaw, 
which seems to have been then the half of a property of 
which Midlie may have been the other half, became 
superior of Headshaw or tenant-in-chief under " ouf sovrane 
lord" the King. The above John Edmonston of Edmon- 
ston was evidently vassal to Sir George, or heir of the 
vassal who held Headshaw under Sir George's superiority, 
and John Logan again feued under John of Edmonston. 
To have a legal right to Headshaw John Edmonston 
should have acknowledged the superior, Sir George, by 
entering with him, that is, accepting a charter which sub- 
stituted him as vassal in room of his ancestor, or the 
person whose heir he was. This he had failed to do, and 
so, by law, the superior was entitled to take possession 
of the lands and levy the rents to the exclusion of John 
Edmonston of that Ilk. This was called the casualty of 
non-entry.* But poor John Logan was between two fires 
Sir George and Edmonston, who both demanded the rents 
or "malez." He seems to have paid to Edmonston, the 
mid-superior, and thus felt aggrieved that Sir George 
should pay himself with his nineteen oxen independently, 
and so went to law. Edmonston was adjudged in the 
wrong, and ordered to make good the value of the 
"dampnage, costis, and scathis" which he had sustained, 
and the case continued Logan is back in Court again 
* Juridical Styles, pp. 7, 354. Fifth Edition. 


in July of 1494 complaining, but seems to make no head- 
way. If we are not mistaken this John Edmonston of 
that Ilk is the same person who marries Margaret Maitland, 
daughter to William Maitland of Thirlestane and Lething- 
ton, in 1496.* On the i8th July of that year he resigns 
"half the lands of Hetschawe in Lauderdaile," which 
are thus thrown on the hands of Hume of Polwarth. f 
The lawsuit had evidently been too annoying to all con- 
cerned in it. 

Headshaw, in the barony of Carfrae, is granted to 
David Home in 1506, and in 1550 is noticed as paying 
;^20 from " half Headshaw " to the Sheriff of Berwick. J 

On the 1 8th March 1594 (retoured 25th Oct. 1599), 
Patrick Home of Polwart and all his masculine heirs 
whomsoever bearing the name and arms of Home, are con- 
firmed by charter of novodamus in Polwart, Reidbrayis, 
Hardenis, etc., and half the lands of Hetschaw in Lauder- 
dale. § Three years later, at Falkland, 1 2th September 
1597, the King confirms the other half of Hetschaw on the 
common of Carfrae to Sir George Home of Wedderburn, 
and while he does so he recalls Sir George's good services 
to himself from his (the King's) childhood, and also the 
weighty services rendered by his ancestors, ''who were 
almost all slain in battling for the King's ancestors and 
fighting under their banner for their crown and the freedom 
of the kingdom." || (The property was retoured under 
date 7th April 1590.) 

This charter gives half Headshaw to Sir George's wife, 
Jean Halden, in liferent, and the same to his son David 
in fee. 

* Douglas's Peerage^ vol. ii., p. 6. t threat Seal. 

X Exchequer Rolls. § Great Seal. || Ibid. 


In 1611 Sir Patrick Home of Polvvart is retoured heir 
of his father Sir Patrick in (among others) half the lands 
of Headshaw ; and in 1650, on 17th May, the famous Sir 
Patrick Hume, his son and entailed heir, is retoured in 
the same possession. From the earliest account we can 
find of Headshaw, the following Homes or Humes, down 
to the last-mentioned date, have been connected with 

Sir Patrick Home, Polwart, about 1450. 

Alexander Home (his son), about 1503. 

Patrick Home „ „ 1532. 

Patrick Home „ „ 1536. 

Sir Patrick Home „ „ 1587. 

Sir Patrick Home „ „ 1611. 

Sir Patrick Home „ „ 1641-1724. 

The last name is so well written in the history of the 
country that it is unnecessary to give here more than a 
mere outline of his career. The eldest son, he lost his 
father when seven years old, and his education devolved 
upon his mother Christian, daughter of Alexander Hamilton 
of Innerwick. He represented Berwick in Parliament in 
1665 ; soon became an object of aversion and jealousy to 
Lauderdale ; was several times imprisoned ; hid himself in 

1684 in Polwart Church vault, and fled to the Continent ; 
had sentence of forfeiture passed upon him on 22nd May 

1685 ; returned with the Prince of Orange, 5th November 
1688, under whose star his fortunes brightened. His 
forfeiture was rescinded by Parliament, 22nd July 1690 ; 
he was made a member of the Privy Council, also Lord 
Polwarth in the same year ; Extraordinary Lord of Session 
in 1693, Bailiff of Lauderdale in 1694, Lord High Chan- 
cellor of Scotland in 1696, in which character he comes 


before the Channelkirk people in rather dubious light in 
the matter which is treated in Chapter VII on "The 
V^acancy." He was created Earl of Marchmont by King 
William, 23rd April 1697, though he would have preferred 
to be Earl of March, as being a lineal descendant of the 
ancient Earls of the Merse. He died in 1724 in his own 
house at Berwick, and was buried in the vault of Polwarth, 
where he once hid from his persecutors.* 

He was the eighth of the barons of Polwarth, whose 
residence, Redbraes, was afterwards called Marchmount, a 
name which belonged of old to Roxburgh Castle : The 
Merse-Mount. He was married to Grissell, daughter of 
Sir Thomas Ker of Cavers, 29th January 1660, lived with 
her forty-three years, and had seventeen children. Grissell, 
born 24th December 1665, was his famous daughter, Lady 
Grissell Baillie, who as a maid of eighteen in 1683 carried 
food to him in Polwart vault. He was first Episcopalian, 
then Presbyterian, and to the Prince of Orange and to 
the Presbyterian cause, which his party espoused, he owed 
his successful career and ennoblement. Hence the crowned 
Orange is a familiar object at Marchmont.-f 

It renders our account of Headshaw agreeably brief, 
when we can say that it has continued in the possession 
of the Marchmont House down to the present day. Its 
name, sometimes spelled Heathshaw, lends colouring to 
the view that Headshaw Hill and surrounding ground was 
at one time covered with wood, or natural " shaw." Its 
elevation gives it an extensive sweep of all Lauderdale, 
which, together with the Eildons in the distance, is beheld 
to an enjoyable degree from this point of vantage. Planted 

* Senators of the College of Justice. 

+ Miss Warrender's Homes of Marchmount. 


on a steep hillside which from the level of 770 feet 
climbs abruptly to 960, it has many disadvantages both 
for pedestrians and farm traffic. All the roads reach it 
after many windings. The area of land farmed comprises 
721 acres, mostly of light soil, and on the six-shift rotation: 
300 acres in tillage, 389 moorland, and 32 in pasture. 
There are now 13 souls on the place; good old Mr and 
Mrs Blaikie, so long farming there, having but recently 
been laid to rest in Channelkirk churchyard — a worthy 
and much missed couple. The present owner is Sir John 
Purves Hume Campbell, Bart., of Marchmont. 

It speaks volumes for good settled government, the 
strength of the law, and the binding influences of good 
family, that the same bounds given by William de Mor- 
ville to Carfrae lands, on the west, should still to-day be 
the same march of Headshaw. The Leader Water, as 
Headshaw Burn seems to have been then called, still 
marks the boundaries between Glengelt and Headshaw 
as distinctly as on that day, somewhere about the year 
1 196, when the High Constable of Scotland described 
them to Sir Henry de Sinclair, Sheriff of Lauderdale. 
Well may the poet sing: — 

"It is the land that freemen till, 

That sober-suited Freedom chose ; 
The land, where girt with friends or foes 
A man may speak the thing he will ; 

A land of settled government, 
A land of just and old renown, 
Where Freedom slowly broadens down 

From precedent to precedent. 

If Headshaw and Midlie were ever united as one property, 
as we have hinted, they were again separate in 1632. Sir 


John Sinclair of Herdmanston's lands of Carfrae included 
those of Midlie within them at that time, and they remain so 

We have seen that the earliest mentioned tenant-laird 
was James Logan, who entered Headshaw in 1466.* In 
163 1 "Thomas Markell in Headschaw" is down at Lauder on 
the 7th day of January, giving his evidence before the Sub- 
Commissioners' Court, held there in the " Tolbuth," as to the 
worth and rent of Glengelt Farm and others.-j" Old James 
Richardson, tenant in Kirktonhill, who had seen sixty years, 
was down along with him. James Watherston was tenant 
till 1736. James Somervail is tenant in 1752. In 1764 we 
see him busy " calling sand " to the manse, for which he is 
paid £2.1 No doubt he would be related to the "James 
Somervail " who was then in Airhouse. A Mr Cockburn 
appears to have been farmer in 1774. In the early years of 
this century, Andrew Shiels was tenant — he had farmed also 
in Glengelt — and was followed in Headshaw by his son, who 
did not succeed well. From being shepherd on Mr Shiel's 
farm the late Robert Blaikie became tenant, and his son- 
in-law, Mr Booth, now fills the vacant place. Headshaw 
people, with the exception of the workmen, attend the U.P. 
Church at Blackshiels. 


Herniecleuch may have derived its name from being a 
haunt of the heron, or may be a transposed spelling of Henry- 
cleuch ; but it is more likely to be derived from the Anglo- 
Saxon hyrne, a corner or neuk. Chaucer speaks of " lurking 

* Acta Dominorum Concilii. 

t Channelkirk Teind Case. Teind Office, Edinburgh. 

X Kirk Records. 


in hemes and in lanes blind," and the situation of the place 
on Kelphope " Burn " answers such a description admirably. 
In Blaeu's Atlas of 1654 the order of places ascending the 
Kelphope Water is Hillhouse^ Herniecleuch, Hasildene. There 
are many trees growing near the spot where it stood, imme- 
diately at the foot of the Dod House Hill. In 1610 it was 
owned by William Home, who acquired in that year the 
village and lands of Oxton from John, Lord Saltoun. 
William was servitor to Alexander, Earl of Home, Lord 
Jedburgh, and Dunglass. It seems never to have been large 
in area, and in 1627 is noted as being " in stok fourscoir lib. ; 
personage, 10 lib. ; viccarage, 20 merkis." In 1630, Hernie- 
cleuch and Hasildeane are said to be each in worth ;i^ioo ; 
from which we may judge that both places were alike in 
extent, as well as neighbours. Being in " Carfrae barony," 
it was in the superiority of the Sinclairs of Herdmanston, and 
in 1 69 1 the "Locality" of that date includes all the places 
on Kelphope Burn under that appellation. For the same 
reason it is never mentioned except when documents relating 
to Carfrae estate give the inventory. It was occupied as 
late as 181 3, when one Trotter died there in March of that 
year. He is a friend of the same who is noticed as being 
buried from " Harniecleugh " on the 8th September 18 16, and 
whose name was Alexander Trotter. From this date the 
place seems gradually to have fallen into decay, and finally 
became obliterated. The desire for large farms has operated 
in the same way throughout the parish. 

A story is told of " auld Willie Clark's faither," who was a 
weaver in Herniecleuch, and who heard one night the 
fairies play a tune which he learned and fiddled as " The 
Balance o' Straw." The fairies are said to have had their 
headquarters near Herniecleuch. He had been over the hill 


with a web, and was returning home when he got entangled 
in the fairy enchantments ! But the tune has died away, and 
it seems that fairy music has no greater immortality than that 
of human beings. The web was perhaps a " drookit ane." 
If so, the music is easily understood. 


The association of the name of this place with the shrub 
or tree called the fiazel doubtless supplies us with a deriva- 
tion which is sufficiently satisfactory. The " dean " refers, 
we believe, to the long deep ravine to the immediate south 
of Tollishill, at the mouth of which Haseldean, or Hazeldean, 
seems to have been situated. It is now extinct, but traces 
of its wall-foundations are yet apparent. It has no connec- 
tion with Scott's famous song, "Jock o' Hazeldean." It 
comes into view first in 1617. On the 17th December of 
that year, James Haig, Bemersyde, is served heir to Robert 
Haig, his father, in the " lands of Hissildans, in the barony of 
Hermestoune, lordship of Carfra." This owner of Haseldean 
is interesting in several ways. He led a violent and erratic 
life, and seems to have been reckless in his behaviour to all 
who crossed his path. When we first become acquainted 
with him as the proprietor of Haseldean he had but few 
years to live, as he is said to have died about 1620, whether 
travelling in Germany or at home, it is not known. An 
incident in which he was chief actor, and which combined 
both comic and tragic elements, has already been referred to 
under " Carfrae." John Knox was tenant in Hissildoune in 

In 1627 it is valued "in stok 200 merkis ; personage, 20 
merkis ; viccarage, 40 merkis." Thomas Thomson was 
tenant in " Hizeldean" in 1664, and the key of the poor's 


box of Channelkirk Church is entrusted to his care, while 
the teacher keeps the box itself. There are few references 
to the place itself, and its individuality is obscured all down 
the centuries, under the greater name of Carfrae. In 1800 it 
was farmed by Edmund Bertram. His memory is yet green 
in the parish, and it seems he was much esteemed. His 
obliging disposition, and unfailing kindness to the poor, made 
him a prime favourite, and it is remembered that when his 
corn needed to be harvested, the villagers used to flock to his 
place to render him the necessary assistance. He was buried 
in Channelkirk on the 31st August 18 17. He died on the 
27th, aged seventy-two. The family tombstone says of him, 
" late tenant of Hazeldean." His father, Peter Bertram, had 
farmed Hazeldean before him. His wife, Janet Watson, died 
when she was but thirty-six, on i6th November 1758, and he 
himself on 2nd August 1782, aged seventy-six. The tomb- 
stone in Channelkirk churchyard is the centre one of three, 
the eastmost, which stand on the south side of the path which 
leads to the church door from the east gate. Edmund was 
one of the signatories to a petition, presented by Chaimelkirk 
parishioners in March 18 16, to have the church removed to 

Our last sight of Hazeldean is in 1841, when Adam 
Armstrong, labourer, is reported on the " Roll of the Male 
Heads of Families" belonging to Channelkirk Church, as 
dwelling there. One Johnston was the last tenant. We pre- 
sume that the place soon afterwards became a ruin, and dis- 

Friarsknowes : Freersnose : " The Noss." 

Under the shadow of Lammer Law, at the head of 
Kelphope Burn, in the loneliest spot of the parish, stands 


Friarsknowes. The name proclaims its own meaning and 
has the sound of ancient days in it. But " The Noss " 
seems to have been its earliest appellation. In the will of 
Alexander Sutherland, Dunbeath, Caithness, we have 
among those in his debt — " Item, the Lord of Hyrdmanston 
XX lib. the quhilkis, gif he payis nocht sal ryn apon the 
landis of Noss." This was in 1456. {Bannatjne Miscellany.) 
It is commonly pronounced locally " The Nose " or " Freers- 
nose," and we have here unmistakably the Old English 
" Frere," Friar ; and, the " nose " which appears in so many 
place-names as " ness," meaning promontory or headland. 
The earliest spelling of the name in its present forms, so 
far as we know, is Frierneise in 1627. Friarness is about 
the same time, and although " knowes " (knolls) might 
seem the more appropriate, the obvious meaning is evidently 
" nose," or " ness ;" the " nese " of Piers Plowman. Instances 
where " ness " ; is applied to inland places situated on 
waters similar to " Friarness " are found in Crichness on 
Bothwell Water, Haddington, and Coltness on South Calder 
Water, Lanark. Of course, the term is usually found 
attached to points of land, small or great, running into the 
sea, as Fife Ness or Caithness. 

Whatever it may have been in bygone times, Friars- 
knowes is now a single cottage, usually occupied by a 
shepherd, and is necessary as a centre for the broad tract 
of sheep-walk which stretches far and wide along the sides 
of Lammer Law, the highest of the Lammermuir range 
of hills. At present it is untenanted. 

The minister of Channelkirk says of it in 1627 : " Frier- 
neise, holding of Ecles, in stok fowrscoir lib., personag 6 
lib., viccarage ten merkis," or in stock it was worth 
£^, 13s. 4d., in parsonage teind los., and in vicarage teind 


IIS. ifd. money sterling. "Of Ecles" means in all likeli- 
hood, "of the Laird of Eccles." As late as 1781 the Earl 
of Marchmont gets resignation ad remanentiam on pro- 
curatory resignation in disposition by Sir John Patterson 
of Eccles, of the lands of Kelphope, the neighbouring 
lands of Friarsknowes, and in the same barony of Carfrae.* 
The Lairds of Eccles seem to have held Friarsknowes on 
the same footing at an earlier date. It has long been the 
property of the Most Noble the Marquis of Tweeddale. It 
is at present farmed by Mr Dickinson, Longcroft, by Lauder. 


We do not doubt that the name of this place is primarily 
derived from the fern plant, which must always have been 
abundant in its neighbourhood, and is yet plentiful enough 
to the present day. The Anglo-Saxon of " fern " is /earn, 
and it evinces the conservation of sounds when we have 
this place-name pronounced fairn in the earliest example 
which we have been able to find. In 1627 the minister of 
the parish declares " Fairnielies " to be worth " in stok 
200 merkis, personage 20 lib., viccarage xl merkis." " Lies," 
" lees," or " lie," is, of course, the Old English lay, sward-land, 
so familiar in Burns's 

" I'll meet thee on the /ea-ng." 

and in Gray — 

" The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the /ea." 

Fairnielees stands 1076 ft. above sea-level, on a steep 
broad upland rising away from Hillhouse Burn, and com- 
mands an extensive view of the borderland. The lands 
* G. R., 389, 189. 


are almost entirely pasture-ground for sheep, and the 
dwelling is now, as it seems ever to have been, the 
shealing of the shepherd who tends them. " Phairnielees," 
in 1630, is noticed as worth "ii'= merkis." In 1631 the 
teind worth was put at one half bole of bear and four teind 
lambs, with two pounds of wool to each lamb, price of each 
lamb with the wool being 33s. 4d. Scots, or 2s. 9yVc1- sterling. 
From having been, from the beginning, under Carfrae 
barony, its individuality is never very conspicuous, and its 
name does not occur frequently in the usual channels of 
information. Its history is practically stated in that of 
Carfrae. In 1788, and in 18 16, it is mentioned among the 
Marquis of Tweeddale's properties as "Fairnielee." As yield- 
ing teind money to the Kers of Morriestoun it is mentioned 
in 1676 as " Fairnielees," in 1687 as " Fairniliey," and in 
1692 as " Fernielees." It is now included in the farm of 


" Hillhouse quhilk perteines to the Laird of Herdmies- 
stoune," " ane chaplanrie of Hermeisstoune in stok 400 merkis, 
personage 50 merkis, viccarage 50 merkis." This is the 
minister's statement regarding it in 1627. He describes 
it as one of the kirk lands in his parish. When Sir John 
Sinclair of Herdmanston built a chapel at Carfrae, these 
lands of Hillhouse had, to all appearance, been set aside 
for its endowment. But at what time it came into exist- 
ence under its present name it were hard to affirm. It 
has always been under Carfrae barony, and was included 
originally in Carfrae lands, and has constantly had the same 
owners. Its teind rent was before both Sub-Commissioners 
and High Commissioners in 1630 and i63i,and was valued 

2 E 


then. Half of this rent was drawn by the Kers of 
Morrieston, and at various periods, such as in 1676, 1687, 
and 1692, this fact is retoured, and Hillhouse is named. 
It is called " a very considerable farm" in 1784. In i8cx) 
Archibald Somerville was its tenant, who also farmed 
" Elsinford " on the other side of Lammer Law. He lived 
in the latter place for most part, and at the time when 
the country was roused over the proposed Napoleonic 
Invasion, and bands of yeomanry were called out, he 
courageously took the field, a leading spirit, and is yet 
remembered for the " langitch " he applied to the laggards 
and less patriotic ! He died in December of 1821. Robert 
Kelly was his steward in Hillhouse for a long time. The 
next tenant was Alexander Taylor. He died at Pathhead 
Ford. Mr Dickinson, Longcroft, succeeded in the tenancy, 
and during that time, as mentioned above, it has been a 
" led " farm. The farmhouse stands 800 ft. above sea-level, 
but the Camp Hill close to the northwards of it shoots 
up to 1000, and half-a-mile still further north. Ditcher Law 
reaches the height of 1202 ft. It is pleasantly situated 
between Kelphope and Hillhouse Burns, which meet on 
the lower ground a little to the south, before they join the 
Leader at Carfrae Mill. A considerable portion of the 
farm is ploughed. There are twenty souls on the place. 
The interesting camp in the immediate neighbourhood is 
noticed in Chapter XX HI on "Antiquities." 


This place appears to derive its name from the Gaelic 
cailpeach, calpach, colpacJi, a heifer, steer, colt ; colpa, a cow 
or horse. In Scotch mythology the cailpeach was an 
imaginary spirit of the waters, horselike in form, which 


was believed to warn, by sounds and lights, those who were 
to be drowned. There is a slight tendency also to alter 
any name to "hope" which has the least sound similar to 
it. Langild^ Langat, Langhope^ in this parish is one instance. 
" Hope," of course, js common through all the Borders in 
place-names. It was part, originally, of the Carfrae estate, 
and was probably a croft or farm about the close of the 
fifteenth century, when all the neighbouring places lying on 
the Mossburn (now Kelphope Water) came into existence. 
Patrick Levingtoun of Saltcottis, heir of Patrick Levingtoun, 
his father, holds Kelphope lands in 1613.* In 1627 it is 
noted as being in value " in stok 300 merkis, personage 20 
lib., viccarage xl lib." Robert Dodds is tenant there in 
1630, and makes declaration that it is worth only 250 
merks. Alexander Levingtoun de Saltcoats, heir of Patrick 
Levingtoun de Saltcoats, his father, is retoured in the lands 
of Kelphope in the lordship of Carfrae, bailiary of Lauder- 
dale, on the 14th May 1640.^ George Levingtoun, his 
heir, obtains them i6th November 1657.J In 1683 another 
Alexander Livingtoune de Saltcoats is retoured heir of 
George Levingtoune de Saltcoats, his father, in the same 
lands. They are in Livingtoune's pos.session in 1691, and 
seem to have remained with that family until purchased by 
the Rev. Henry Home, minister at Channelkirk about 
1725. § On 30th April 1723 he acquired the just and equal 
half of the Kelphope teinds from Andrew Ker of Morieston, 
and was taken bound to contribute certain " money pay- 
able furth of the said lands to the Lords of Session," and 
a " proportional payment of the expense for repairing and 

* Retours. f Ibid. 

X General Register of Sasines, fol. 316, vol, xiii. 
\ Decreet of Locality, p. 151. 


upholding the quire, or of the third part of the Kirk of 
Channelkirk, or kirk dykes," and " others " more particularly 
mentioned in the said disposition.* George Hall was its 
tenant then, and James Miller an indweller. When Mr 
Home died in 175 1, the property came into the hands 
of his son-in-law, William Eckford, and he is assessed for 
the minister's stipend in 1752. He died in 1764. Hugh, 
Earl of Marchmont, appears to have acquired Kelphope 
about 1780, and on 15th September 1781 gets Resignation 
ad Rem. on Proc. Resig. in Disp. by Sir John Patterson 
of Eccles. Kelphope still remains with the House of 
Marchmont. Mr Patterson was tenant about the close 
of this century. George Brown, Chesters, followed. After 
him Mr Lyal came in, then Mr Taylor, and in our time 
Walter Stobie, whose widow now farms it. 

The rent of the farm at present is ^153 per annum, 
and that of the farmhouse £\2. It is one of the most 
remote places in Channelkirk parish, lying towards Lammer 
Law, on the Kelphope Water, and is rather inaccessible 
during winter, owing to flooding and snowstorms. In 
Blaeu's Atlas (1654) "Kelfhoope" is placed on the east 
side of Kelphope Burn, and at this date the house may 
have been so situated. It is now on the west side. 

Kelphope lies at the foot of Tollishill, a place which, 
though not in Channelkirk parish, should not be left 
unnoticed. The same tenant has sometimes farmed both 
places, the Kelphope Water being the dividing line between 
them. Tollishill at the end of last century came into 
possession of George BroVn, Chesters, who, after Mr 
Patterson's death (his uncle), obtained the leases of Tollis- 
hill and Kelphope. He ploughed up and sowed with crop 

*Sasines, 1725, 


a considerable part of land on the former place, and 
incurred the displeasure of the Marquis of Tweeddale for 
so doing. He was taken to the Court of Session, and 
ultimately to the House of Lords, over the affair, but 
gained his case in both instances, and was awarded 
expenses also. 

Tullius' Hill, as it is sometimes called ; " Tullis, Over 
and Nether" of the charters, has an ancient record in the 
camp or fort of the " British " denomination in its vicinity. 
But it is best known in the story which comes down to 
us from the days of John, Duke of Lauderdale, amplified 
and added to in Wilson's Tales of the Borders and 
several other works, and which from its combination of 
history and romance, wealth and poverty, the palace and 
the cottage, national events and farm failures, has just 
that touch of candle-light homeliness which gives to every 
fireside tale of " lords and ladies gay " a witching fascina- 
tion and a halo of truth. 

In the stirring days of John, Duke of Lauderdale, one 
of his tenants was Thomas Hardie, in Tullos Farm, on 
Tullos or Tollis Hill. It was known also as the Midside 
Farm. Mrs Hardie's maiden name was Margaret Lyleston, 
the " Midside Maggie " of the Tales of the Borders. A 
severe snowy season destroyed the flock, and Hardie 
found himself at rent-time unable to " meet the factor." 
Mrs Hardie courageously took the circumstances in hand, 
and went personally to Thirlestane Castle to lay the 
matter before the " Yirl." The great John, who had more 
heart in him than he has been credited with, did not fail 
to acknowledge the sincerity of the distress, and jocularly 
bargained with " Maggie " to wipe out the rent score if 
she would produce to him a snowball in June. Tollishill 


cleuchs, jammed full of winter's snow, proved equal to this 
condition, and with legal precision Maggie carried the 
snowball duly tot he castle and obtained relief By-and-by, 
fortune kicked the ball the other way, and while the 
Hardies afterwards prospered, Lauderdale, following the 
Royalist cause, found himself a prisoner in 1651, and 
lodged in the Tower of London. But the honest hearts 
in Tollishill did not consider themselves free from their 
obligations, though the " Yirl's " back was at the wa', and 
steadily every year laid past the rent due to him. The 
heroic wife, out of gratitude and sympathy over her fallen 
lord, then baked the rent total of gold pieces in a bannock, 
carried them to London, and conveyed them to the hands 
of the imprisoned Earl. Many days passed away, and 
Lord Lauderdale was released, and in course of time 
returned to his castle on Leader Water. He, it is said, 
soon sought out the leal tenants of the Midside Farm, and 
presented the noble Maggie with a silver girdle, and at 
the same time granted to her and her children to hold 
the farm rent free for their lives, remarking that " every 
bannock had its maik but the bannock of Tollishill." 

The girdle and chain, after passing through many 
hands, found a permanent resting place in the National 
Museum of Antiquities, Edinburgh. (See Proceedings of 
the Society of Antiquaries^ 1897-98, p. 195.) 

Mr Patterson cultivated a considerable deal of Tollis- 
hill land at one time, and kept two or three pairs of 
horses. A Mr Usher also was tenant in it. His son John, 
who also had it, was a favourite with Sir Walter Scott, as 
he was somewhat of a poet, and the Great Wizard made 
him a present of a pony. Usher was also tenant in 
Quarryford Mill in Haddingtonshire. 


There are four rough track roads across the Lammer- 
moors to Carfraemill in this parish: — i. By Long Yester, 
skirting the east side of Lammer Law, and passable for 
gigs and carts ; 2. by Cairnie Haugh ; 3. by Longnewton 
and Kidlaw ; and 4. by Stobshiels and Wanside. The 
first two pass TolHshill steading. 


THE BARONIES — Continued 

Hartside.— Glengelt 

Hartside, the Name — Early Proprietors — Extent of Land — House of 
Seton — Nether Hartside — Clints — Over Hartside — Trinity College 
and the Superiority of Hartside and Clints — The Riddells of Haining 
— Barony of Hartside^ — Hepburn of Humbie — Hope of Hopetoun — 
Henryson — Dalziel — Borthwick of Crookston — Lord Tweeddale — 
The Original Hartside — Barony of Glengelt — The Name — The 
Veteriponts and Mundevilles — The Lord Borthwick — Raid of 
Glengelt — Lawless Lauderdale — Hepburn of Humbie — The Ed- 
monstons — Sleigh — Cockburn — Robertson — Mathie — Hunter — 
Borthwick of Crookston — Tenants — The Den. 

The name of Hartside, like that of the parish, has descended 
to the present generation somewhat transformed from its 
origmal shape. The earliest spelling is " Hertesheued." 
It must not be confounded with the " Hertesheued " which, 
in old writings, is often mentioned with Spott, Haddington. 
It means Hart's Head, i.e., the head of the hart (Lat. cervus). 
The Old English of " heart " is " harte " or " herte," and from 
the latter we might suppose " Hertes-heued " to have been 
derived. But in the twelfth century it seems the genitive 
of Heartshead was " herten-heued," not " hertesheued," being 
feminine. The name was originally, therefore, " Hartshead," 
and " Hart-side " is a corruption. The latter, indeed, does 
not come into use until two or three hundred years after 


the time when " Hertesheued " is found. The name is 
first noticed about 1189A.D. We obtain it from the charter 
which follows : — " Charter whereby William de Morvill, 
constable of the King of Scotland, grants and confirms to 
William de Hertesheued the whole land which Heden and 
Hemming held in Hertesheued, viz., on the east side of 
the road from Wedale to Derestre (te), to be holden by him 
and his heirs of the hospital of the Holy Trinity at Soltre, 
and the brethren thereof, in fee and heritage, as the charter 
of the Procurator of Soletre and of the brethren of the same 
place bears witness, saving always the service due to the 
granter. Witnesses — Christiana, spouse of the granter, 
Ketell de Letham, William Mansell, Henry de Sainclair, 
Alan de Thirlestane, Peter de la Hage, Albinus, the chap- 
lain, Richard de Nith, Duncan, son of Earl Duncan, Ingeram 
Haring, Richard Mansell, Alan de Clephan."* We give 
the writing in full, because it is necessary for a clear under- 
standing of its several facts. William de Morville was the 
last of the De Morville house who was Lord of Lauderdale. 
As possessor of the lands of Hertesheued, as of nearly all 
Lauderdale for that matter, he was " Superior," and the 
Hospital of Soutra the " Mid-superior," and William of 
Hertesheued was ' to hold his lands of both, paying rent or 
other dues to the Hospital, while the " service due to the 
granter" probably meant military service. It is clear that 
De Morville had granted the lands to the Hospital, so that 
they could derive benefit from them, and the Hospital had 
granted a charter of the lands to William of Hartside, to 
be held of them for certain dues, and their charter is here 
confirmed by De Morville in the above writ. The De 
Morville interest ceased with national changes, but nothing 
♦Original Charters, No. 12, vol. i. Register House, Edinburgh. 


leads us to suppose that the Hospital ever afterwards re- 
linquished their rights in Hartside. 

But William of Hartside was preceded in the proprietary 
by Heden and Hemming, and the names at once point to 
a Norse origin ; and when we remember that the village 
name is also derived from a Norse source, it becomes evident 
that before this time of transference of the Hartside lands, 
Upper Lauderdale had mostly been in the hands of men 
of Scandinavian descent. It is, of course, quite conceivable 
that these descendants of Norsemen might have come into 
Lauderdale under the patronage of the Saxon De Morvilles, 
but it is more feasible to suppose that as Berwickshire 
was often raided by these sea-rovers, a- few of them had 
settled down in the quiet uplands of the dale of Leader 
during the immediately preceding centuries, and by-and-by 
had yielded in their turn to the superior forces which were 
swayed by the Saxons. 

The extent of property which is here set forth is rather 
a matter of difficulty to us. " The whole land ... on the 
east side of the road from Wedale to Derestre " is vague 
enough. " Wedale " is traditionally derived, according to 
competent writers like Dr Skene and Prof Veitch, from 
the great battle, so disastrous to the Saxons, which was 
fought between them and King Arthur's army, between 
Heriotwater and Lugate. The vale of " wae " it ever after- 
wards meant to the inhabitants of that district, and seems 
to have been applied two or three centuries later to the 
whole Gala valley. " Derestre," which we conclude can 
only mean " Derestrete " with part of the name deleted 
in the charter, was the well-known road or street which 
ran to Deira, one of the divisions of Northumbria. This 
'' street " has been considered as the " Roman Road," 


" Malcolm's Rode," and the " Royal Road," which under 
the second and third of these appellations is frequently 
mentioned in connection with Lauderdale and Soutra law 
documents of the twelfth century. It is reputed to have 
passed through Old Lauder, thence to Blackchester, thence 
to Channelkirk Church, and thence across Soutra Hill. 
The road from Wedale to this Roman Road, therefore, was 
one connecting the valley in the neighbourhood of Heriot 
and Lugate with the road crossing Soutra Hill. This road 
seems to have taken the course of the Armet Water in a 
general outline running from the Gala Water to the place 
which is now called the Soutra Isle, the ancient " Hospital 
of the Holy Trinity of Soltre." The " whole land " to the 
east of this road would consequently mean what is generally 
considered to this day as " the lands of Hartside and Glints." 
It is to be observed that the eastern limits of these chartered 
lands are not given, probably because the other properties 
which were to be encountered on that side were too well 
defined by that time to require further description. Glengelt 
lands and Ghannelkirk Ghurch lands were the only possible 
boundaries on the east of them, and these seem to have 
been distinctly understood even before 1189 A.D. These 
lands, then, if we are correct in so understanding the charter, 
were to be " holden by William and his heirs, of the Hospital " 
of Soltre, " as in their charter to the said William." Charters 
appear to have been necessary from both superiorities, 
the secular and the sacred, in order to security of tenure. 
William of Hartside thus held of De Morville, but he also 
held by charter of the brethren of Soltre Hospital. In like 
manner, in olden times, feu-duties were wont to be collected 
separately by both secular and sacred superiorities. This 
William of Hartside is styled " William Albus de Herset," 


" de Hertished," " de Hertishevit," etc., in the charters of 
the " Domus de Soltre," from about 1189 till about 125a* 
Richard de Hertesheued, presumably son of William, 
witnesses to charters ranging between the dates 1238- 1300, 
and about the year 1327, in the reign of King Robert the 
Bruce, we have the following : — 

" Charter whereby Alan de Hertesheued, son and heir 
of the late Richard de Hertesheued, grants to Sir Alexander 
de Seton, the father, lord of that ilk, that toft and croft and 
these two oxgates of land in the territory of Ulkistoun, 
which the granter holds of Thomas, the son of William de 
Colilau : To be holden, de vie, for payment of one penny 
yearly, if asked only, and delivering or paying to the said 
Thomas for all services, one pair of gloves or one penny 
at the feast of St James the Apostle." i* A renunciation of 
ane arent of 4 merkis be Allan de Hartishweid, son of 
Richard de Hartishweid, in favour of Mark of Clephane, is 
also noted by John, Earl of Lauderdale, as being among 
his papers.^: Allan de Hertesheued witnesses in many 
charters in the Liber de Calchou (Kelso). 

Until the days of King Robert the Bruce, therefore, the 
proprietors of Hartside were : — 

1. Heden and Hemming (of Norse descent). 

2. William DE Hertesheued (aV. 1189— aV. 1250). 

3. Richard de Hertesheued {cir. 1238— «>. 1270). 

4. Alan de Hertesheued, son of Richard {cir. 1327). 

The dates are not those of birth or death, but of charters in which 
their names are found. 

It has been pointed out that Hartside lands, in the days of 
Heden and Hemming, appear to have marched with the 
Armet Water on the west. It is a probable confirmation 

* Domus de SoUre. f Original Charters, No. gS, vol. i. 

X Scotch Acts, vii., p. 153. 


of this that the moss on the tableland of Soutra from which 
the Armet rises is called Hens Moss. For just as words 
like Wednesday become, in pronunciation, Wensday, so 
Hedens Moss, in colloquialism, becomes Hens Moss. Hedeti, 
again, is likely to have been short for Healf-dene ; in 
Northumbrian, Halfdene, meaning Half-Dane, i.e., of Saxon 
and Danish parentage. 

Our next view of the lands of Hartside shows them to 
be possessed by the House of Seton. The reign of King 
Robert the Bruce brought great changes to the landowners 
of Scotland. All, or nearly all, who had supported the 
claims of the kings of England to the Scottish throne were 
forfeited, and at this time the family who so long had held 
Hartside from the De Morvilles seem to have shared a like 
fate. The Setons espoused Bruce's cause, and were richly 

The Setons, as the last quoted charter sets forth, were 
first proprietors in Channelkirk parish by possession of 
houses and land in Oxton territory (probably Heriotshall 
now), granted by Alan of Hartside, who held again from 
Thomas of Collielaw. It is now impossible, perhaps, to say 
whether Hartside had been purchased by Sir Alexander 
Seton, or that the lands came to him through forfeiture of 
Alan de Hartside. Sir Alexander was the son of King 
Robert the Bruce's sister, and he had, therefore, the King 
himself for his uncle, and it is conceivable that where so 
many favours were being dispensed to King Robert's 
followers, the near connections of the throne would not be 
overlooked. We know that in 1342 all Lauderdale was 
in the hands of William, Lord Douglas,* who obtained it 
through Lord Hugh, who, again, was brother and heir to 
* Robertson's Index of Charters, 



the " Good Lord James." Through the Douglasses Hart- 
side may have been negotiated to the Setons, who received 
the lands of Tranent, Fawside, and Niddrie, which Alan 
de la Suche had forfeited. Seton, Winton (Latinised form 
of Winchester), and Winchburgh had, of course, been in 
their hands for, perhaps, a hundred and fifty years before. 

Sir William Seton, who was killed in the battle of 
Verneuil, in Normandy, 1424, was directly descended from 
two, perhaps three, generations of Sir Alexander Setons, of 
whom Alexander Seton, " the father " in the above charter, 
was the first* Sir William had an only son, George, who is 
the first Seton said to hold Hartside and Glints. Sir 
William was created a peer, and was the first Lord Seton. 
His son George, Lord Seton, is confirmed by the King in 
the lands of " Hertished and Clentis " on 8th January 
i458-59.-|* We note that this is the first time we meet 
with Glints. 

" This Lord George, first of that name, efter the deid of 
his first wyf, dochter of the erle of Buchan, mareit the secund 
wyf, callit Dame Christiane Murray, dochter to the lard of 
Telibardin, qha had na successioun." " And efter that he 
had levit lang time ane honorable lyf he deyit, of gud age, 
in the place of the Blak freiris of Edinburgh, quhair he 
lyis, in the queir of the samin. To quhom he foundit 
XX markis of annuell, to be tane of Hartsyd and the 
Clyntis." + 

His death took place on the 15th day of July 1478. It 
is said of him that " he was all given to nobleness." This 

* Douglas's Peerage. See also Dalrymple's Annals^ vol. iii. Creech, 
Edinburgh, 1797. 

f Great Seal. 

XHistorie of the Hous of Seytoun, by Sir Richard Maitland, p. 33, 
See also Knox's Works, vol. i., p. 238, note. 


gift of 20 merks of annual rent from " the lands of Hertis- 
hede and of Clyntis, with the pertinents lying within our 
sheriffdom of Berwick," is again confirmed by King James 
III. on 14th May 1473.* 

The year of Lord George's death brings also into view 
the Nether Hartside, which has continued down to our 
time ; implying, of course, the existence of Over or Upper 
Hartside in 1478. By his second wife, Christian Murray, he 
had a daughter named Christian, who married Hugh Douglas 
of Corehead, and her father settled on her Clints and a part 
of Nether Hartside. Under date 26th January 1478-9, the 
King confirms the charter of George, Lord Setoun, " and of 
the feu-lands of Hertside," in which he conceded to Hugh 
Douglas of Borg, and Christian, his spouse — the lands of 
Clentis, extending to 12 merks, and three-fourths of the 
lands of Nether Hartside, extending to 18 merks of land, in 
Lauderdale, to be held in conjoint fee by them and their 

It is also at this time that the name " HarVs-Ziead" begins 
to lose that form, and merge into " Hartside," and it must 
have been some time before this marriage that the original 
" Hartshead " lands were broken up into Over and Nether 
Hartside, and Clints, an arrangement which holds down to 
the present time. Possibly, at this time. Over Hartside was 
in other hands than those of the Setons ; or the other quarter 
of Nether Hartside may have been retained for certain 
reasons, and thus have begun the division of Hartside into 
Nether and Over as separate places. They were for long 
afterwards separate properties in separate hands. In 1607, 
for example, this quarter of Nether Hartside is owned by 
James Lawson of Humbie. He pays 15 marks feu-duty.J 

* City Records of Edinburgh. f Great Seal. X Retours. 


The superiority of Hartside seems to have passed 
through an important change about this period. It has 
been shown that William de Hertisheued, about 1 1 89, held 
of Soutra Hospital by charter from the Master and Brethren 
there. In 1462 Trinity College was founded near Edin- 
burgh, and was endowed with all the belongings of Soutra 
Hospital. The superiority of Hartside and Glints seems to 
have been transferred with the rest, for these properties are 
in the superiority of the city of Edinburgh to this day, and 
we are at a loss to know how otherwise they could have 
come to be so, unless through this channel. For the Trinity 
College ultimately fell into the hands of the Edinburgh 
magistrates, with all it held. Our view of the matter is, that 
the superiority was in the possession of Soutra Brethren, and 
from them, with all Soutra Hospital endowments, it passed 
to Trinity College, and so with Trinity College it finally 
rested with Edinburgh city. 

Hartside and Clints were further fated to fall from the 
possession of the Setons. The accession of Queen Mary 
to the Scottish throne, together with the troubles of the 
Reformation, brought many calamities to the high homes of 
the realm. It is needless to say here that the Setons 
espoused her cause, and suffered in her downfall. History, 
novel and ballad, have said or sung the deeds and disasters 
of those of the name of Seton. They were always true to 
persons, but not so true to principles. After the battle of 
Langside, it was the slaughter of so many of these and their 
co-patriots, according to Scott, which induced in her final 
despair and abandonment of all her hopes of queenly 
honours. " I would not again undergo what I felt, when I 
saw from yonder mount the swords of the fell horsemen of 
Morton raging among the faithful Seytons and Hamiltons, 


for their loyalty to their Queen — not to be Empress of all 
that Britain's seas enclose." * It was at Seton Palace that 
she and Bothwell " passed their tyme meryly," two days after 
the murder of her husband, Darnley ; it was Lord Seton who, 
along with her lover, George Douglas, and a few others 
received her as she touched shore on escaping from Loch- 
leven Castle, and it was to Castle Niddry, near Linlithgow, 
belonging to Seton, where she first fled for safety ; and it 
was from that haven of refuge she sent a messenger to the 
English Court for help. The Setons of Queen Mary's time 
do not, however, stand so high morally as they did as 
patriots. Knox says, under the year I559,i" "The Lord 
Seytoun, a man without God, without honestie, and often^ 
times without reasone," " maist unworthy of ony regiment 
{^government. Lord Seton was Provost of Edinburgh) in ane 
Weill rewlit commun-wealth." 

George, the eldest son of George, fifth Lord Seton, 
obtained charters of the lands of West Niddrie, Hartisheid, 
and Clintis on 6th August 1554.} Hartside and Clints were 
incorporated in the barony of West Niddrie, as the following 
shows : — 

"12 May 1607. — The King concedes to George, Master 
of Winton — the Earl of Wintoun, with state and title of the 
same, the lands, lordship, and barony of Seton and Wintoun 
. . . the lands of Hartisheid and Clintis . . . and which, for 
service, etc., the King de novo gives to the said George, ex- 
tending to ;^83, old extend, viz., Seton and Winton to ;^I5, 
Tranent to ;^20 . . . West Niddrie to ;^38, Hartisheid and 
Clintis to ;^5 ... and incorporates the lands of Seton, 
Winton, etc., in the constabulary of Haddington, into the 

• The Abbot, chap, xxxviii. t Knox's Works, vol. ii., pp. 326, 431. 
% Douglas's Peerage. 

2 F 


free barony and lordship of Seton . . . and the other lands 
he incorporates into the free barony of West Niddrie." * 

The Setons have again charters of these lands in 1619, "f* 
but after this time we find Nether Hartside and Glints in 
the possession of the Riddells of Haining, Selkirk. Over 
Hartside is retoured in 1607 as belonging to James Lawson 
of Humbie, A sasine, of date 20th March 1641, bears that 
Glints of Niddrie, and Hartside, were given and conceded to 
John Riddell, The Haining, and formerly to Andrew Riddell, 
his father. In an old document belonging to the Kers of 
Morriston, which was produced in the teind cases before 
the Court of Session at the beginning of this century, and 
copied partly into the Decreet of Locality still possessed by 
the ministers of Ghannelkirk, it is declared that the " Laird 
of Haining" pays teind for "his lands of Nether Hartside 
and Glints" in 1632.]: The Riddells of that Ilk, according 
to the following, seem to have possessed Hartside before they 
were Riddells of Haining. " By decreet of the High Gom- 
mission of this date, 22nd July 163 1, recorded in the new 
Record (vol. v., p. — ) of this date, 19th December 1787, pro- 
ceeding a summons at the instance of John, Earl of Mar, and 
Alexander Granston of Morieston, equal heritable proprietors 
of the teinds of the parish of Ghinglekirk, against Andrew 
Riddell of that Ilk, heritable proprietor of the lands of Nether 
Hartsyde and Clintis, it is found and declared 'that the 
saidis landis of Nether Hartsyde,' ' may be worthe in yeirlie 
constant rent of teynd in tyme coming, six bollis, twa firlottis 
victual, twa pairt aittis, and third pairt beir. Lambs with 
the wool thereof, estimate to 33s. 4d. by and attour the 
vicarage and small teind drawn by the minister allenarlie.' " 

* Great Seal. f Ibid. 

X Decreet of Locality^ p. 141. 


The mention of teinds leads us to note here that the tenant 
of Hartside, Robert Pringle, in 1630 was one of the Sub- 
Commissioners who sat in Lauder Tolbooth on the " tent of 
December" of that year to adjust the teinds of the district. 

The proprietors of The Haining, Selkirk, had long a 
considerable stake in Channelkirk parish through the farms 
above noted, and those of Collielaw and Airhouse. The 
Riddells of Riddell first acquired The Haining in 1625 from 
Laurence Scott, a scion of the family of Scotts. Andrew 
Riddell, first of Haining, for whom it was bought by his 
father, sat as M.P. for Selkirkshire 1639-40.* This is the 
"Laird of Haining" of the Decreet of Locality. But his 
father, "Andrew Riddell of that Ilk," was the purchaser 
also of Hartside and Glints, and these lands must have been 
in his right in 1631, at least, if not sometime before that 
date. Walter Riddell, kinsman evidently of the Riddells of 
Riddell and Haining, possesses at the same time (1631) the 
whole lands of Oxton. f It may have been through him that 
the "two husband lands of Ugston" (Heriotshall) afterwards 
came to be in the "barony of Hartside." :{: 

In 1627 the minister notes that " Neather Hairtsyde is 
in stok 600 merkes, personage 80 merkis, viccarage 100 
merkis. Glints is in stok 500 merkis, personage ^20, 
viccarage ane 100 merkis. Over Hairtsyde is in stok 300 
merkis, personage 20 merkis, viccarage 40 merkis. § 

The successor of the above Andrew Riddell of Haining, 
in Hartside and Glints, was John Riddell, The Haining, who 
is retoured heir in 1643, ^ri^ died in 1696. || He was well 
hated as a persecutor of the Covenanters. He married 

* Acts v., p. 96. t Decreet of Locality^ p. 183. 

X Sasines, 1728. § Reports on Parishes. 

II Retours. See also History of Selkirkshire^ by Craig-Brown. 


Sophia, third daughter of James, the fifth Pringle of 
Torwoodlee, who again was brother to Walter Pringle of 
Greenknowe, who lodged one night in Channelkirk when on 
his way to Edinburgh prison for his zeal in the Covenanting 
cause. He owned considerable property on Gala Water, 
Bowland, Bowshank, and half of Windydoors, then belonging 
to the Riddells. He was M.P. for Selkirkshire in 1655 and 
in 1674. He does not seem to have increased the prosperity 
of his estates. Perhaps the advent of the Prince of Orange 
in 1688 may have shed an adverse influence over his 
fortunes. When he was succeeded by Andrew Riddell, his 
third son, the last of the Riddells of Haining, he found it 
necessary to part with Haining in 1701 to Andrew Pringle 
of Clifton, who bought it for his second son John, the Lord 
Haining of the Court of Session of 1720. The last of these 
Pringles parted with Haining by bequest to Professor 
Andrew Seth Pringle Pattison in 1898. He now holds it. 
In the year 1650 our own Kirk Records shed light on 
the Riddells of Hartside. Among the first entries of that 
year is the following : — " Patrick Haitly paid for drinking 
and reproaching of Mr Riddell of Hartsyd on the 20th of 
June, 56s."* Five years later there is "Robert Halliwell 
being to be proclaimed for marrying Jennie Halliwell, con- 
signed two dollars that the marriage should be consumat, 
and that there should be no promiscuous dancing and 
licentious piping, whilk two dollars were delivered to Alex. 
Riddell in Hartsyde, July 8, 1655, to be kept till they should 
be redelivered." He is noted as keeping the " collections " 
all July and part of August of the same year, and in 1663 
we find him named as an elder in Channelkirk. Hartside, 
indeed, is one of the places in the parish which upheld, before 

* Kirk Records. 


this century, a praiseworthy reputation for resident tenants, 
who were also esteemed in the church, and took a leading 
place in it. It is not unlikely that this Alexander Riddell 
was some near relative of the Riddells of Haining. He 
and his wife are seised in the lands of Nether Hartside, 5th 
December 1657. * 

But Clints and Nether Hartside are found in the posses- 
sion of John Borthwick, advocate, on 12th April 1659; 
afterwards John Riddell of Hayning is seised in the lands 
of Clints upon a precept of C.C. "be John Borthwick of 
Hartsyde," 12th August 1661, and the latter is again seised 
in " Hartsyde and Clints" in March 1665. 

Over Hartside is always quite distinct as a property from 

On the 2 1 St November 1636 the King confirms the 
charter of John Lawson of Humbie, in which he sells to 
Master Adam Hepburne, servitor to Thomas, Earl of 
Haddington (Lord Binning and Byres), the lands of Over 
Hartsyde in the bailiary of Lauderdale. From Sir Adam 
Hepburn of Humbie, Over Hartside was acquired in 1642 
(13th September date of disposition) f by Mr Henryson, 
Kirktonhill, whose family held it until 1754, when it was 
sold to Simon Watterston. 

The Seatons still held superiority over Hartside and 
Clints, and on 12th May 1653 George, Earl of Wintoun, 
Lord Seaton, heir male of George, Earl of Wintoun, Lord 
Seaton, is retoured " in the lands of Hartisheid and Clints," 
in the barony of West Niddrie. J They were again ratified 
to him in 1670. This Lord Seton had the energetic spirit 
of some of his forefathers ; he led a stirring life. Succeeding 

* General Register of Sasines, fol. 43, vol. xiv. f Locality^ P- 215. 

X Retours. 


his grandfather in 1650, he was served heir to his Berwick- 
shire property in 1653 ^s above, and also that of Edinburgh, 
Haddington, and LinHthgow, and of that in Banff and Elgin 
in 1655. In 1654 he was fined i^200 by Cromwell; went to 
France, and was at the siege of Bizaulson ; was made Privy 
Councillor by King Charles II. ; commanded the East 
Lothianers against the Covenanters in 1666 at Pentland ; 
and again at Bothwell Brig in 1679, and afterwards enter- 
tained the Duke of Monmouth and his officers at Seton. He 
died in 1704. He had parted with Hartside and Clints in 
1676, selling them to John Hope of Hopetoun, who received 
a charter of them in his favour, 2nd February 1677, the whole 
property having been resigned by Lord Seaton, 24th 
November 1676.* Again, on "7th February 1683, Charles 
Hope of Hopetoune is retoured heir male and of line of 
John Hope of Hopetoune, his father, in the lands of Hart- 
syde and Clints, united with other lands in Linlithgow in the 
barony aforesaid." 

All hope of the Seatons ever recovering their wonted 
grandeur perished in 17 15 when George, the fifth Earl of 
Wintoun, having joined the rebels under the Pretender, was 
taken prisoner, tried for high treason 15th March 17 16, found 
guilty, and sentenced to death. He escaped, and his estates 
were forfeited to the Crown. With him sank this noble house, 
after proudly maintaining its greatness for upwards of 600 
years. The accounts of the sale of the forfeited estates of 
Seytoun and Wintoun in 17 16 contain no mention of Hart- 
side and Clints. 

Prior to the sale of Over Hartside to Simon Watterston 
in 1754, t Mr Henryson, Kirktonhill, had granted the feu 
right of one half of the lands of Over Hartside in favour 
* Great Seal, No. 39, fol. 44a. Retours. t Locality, p. 216. 


of Alexander Dalziel, so that when we reach 1742 we 
find " Netherhartsyde and Overhartsyde, belonging to 
Alexander Dalziell," pays " four pound twelve shilling " 
to the schoolmaster's salary.* In the same year, " dints, 
belonging to Mr John Borthwick of Crookston, advocate," 
pays "two pound fifteen shilling and six penies." Clints 
has ever since remained in the same honourable connec- 
tion. These two heritors of Channelkirk were also elders 
in the church there on i6th July 1758. Mr Dalziell 
resided at Hartside, and about 1762 was at variance 
with his neighbouring farmer of Threeburnford about the 
latter's rights to a share of Wideopen Common.*f- The last 
notice of him as associated with the Kirk-Session is dated 
the 25th April 1773. He is still in Hartside at that 
time. He seems to have been a warm supporter of the 
church, and seldom missed a meeting of the Kirk 
Court. He appears to have left Hartside about this year ; 
and that property, after his term, came into the posses- 
sion of the Most Noble the Marquis of Tweeddale, the 
descendants of whom have ever since retained it. Mr 
Dalziell dispones it to the Marquis on the 29th April 1773 • 
viz., " Netherhartside and the pendicles thereof, called Long- 
cleugh ; parts of Overhartside and Teinds."| In the year 
1787, Lord Tweeddale owned in this parish, Carfrae, Midlie, 
Fernielees, Hillhouse, Herniecleuch, Hizeldean, Friarsknowes, 
Carfrae Mill, and Mill Lands, Nether Hartside, and Nether 
Howden. Half the lands of Over Hartside was acquired 
later. Such an amount of property in the parish necessarily 
constituted Lord Tweeddale its chief heritor, and such a 

* Kirk Records. 

f " Wideopen " case in Mackenzie's Acts and Decreets, vol. 597. 
X Sasines. 


circumstance cannot by any means be considered unfortunate 
for all concerned. The greater part of the Tweeddale lands 
in the parish came into the possession of the family through 
the marriage of John, second Marquis, with Lady Anne 
Maitland, only child and heiress of John, first and only Duke 
of Lauderdale, who died in 1682. This John, second Marquis 
of Tweeddale, was Lord High Chancellor of Scotland, and 
took a leading part in carrying through the Treaty of Union 
between England and Scotland in 1 707. By so doing, he must 
have rendered himself very unpopular among his Lauderdale 
tenants and workmen, who then petitioned against the Union, 
but time has shown his superior wisdom.* He died in 17 13. 
His grandson. Lord Charles Hay, rendered himself famous 
in 1745, in the battle of Fontenoy, as the curious may learn 
from Carlyle's account of that struggle in his Frederick the 
Great.\ The Hays, indeed, have ever been characterised by 
high principles and magnanimous deeds. In Church and in 
State, in war and in peace, at home or abroad, in palace or 
in cottage, their lives and characters have amply maintained 
the noble status of their title. The father of the present 
Marquis was a grand example of a patriotic aristocrat, using 
the word in its legitimate sense. Born in 1787, he joined the 
army as an ensign in the 52nd Foot, and was trained under 
the famous Sir John Moore. He acted for several years as 
Quarter-master General of the British Army, in the Peninsular 
War, under the Duke of Wellington, and was one of his most 
trusted officers. He was present at many of the battles of 
that fierce struggle, and was wounded at Busaco. This 
necessitated his being invalided home, but he was too good 
a servant to the nation to be permitted to luxuriate among 
the pleasant surroundings of Yester, and before he was quite 
* Acts xi., 359a. t Vols. vi. and vii. By Index. 


convalescent he was called upon to go out to Canada in 1814 
to command the British Army there, during the war with the 
United States anent the right of Britain to search American 
ships for seamen to serve in the Royal Navy. He was again 
wounded there. Returning home shortly after Waterloo, he 
married, and retired from active service till he was appointed 
Governor and Commander-in-chief in Madras in 1842. He 
was there till 1848, when he returned to East Lothian and 
gave his countrymen the benefit of his energy in improving 
the methods of agriculture. This bore fruit in his being the 
first to make drain tiles by machinery, and in inventing a 
steam-plough for deep cultivation. He died in 1876, having a 
few years before been appointed a Field- Marshal, an honour 
which he was well worthy to wear. 

The present Marquis is so well known, so widely in- 
fluential, and so conspicuous a figure in almost every sphere 
of public life, that any notice of him here might seem 
superfluous. While he is a power in the great commercial 
undertakings of the country, and is the avowed friend of the 
National Church, and is held in the highest esteem by all its 
members, it is his connection and influence within the parish 
of Channelkirk that naturally engages our regard. He is 
esteemed an excellent landlord, being considerate to his 
tenants, and, through his able Commissioner, assiduous in 
his care of all the interests of the parish. Being an expert 
in business, the genuine respect given to him by our 
parishioners does not spring from popular doles and gifts 
of a sentimental and patronising description, but rests on 
permanent advantages which are calculated to increase in 
worth and comfort as time goes on. This has been especially 
emphasised during the past two years, in his support of the 
extension of the telegraph to Oxton, and his indispensable 


and necessary influence in floating the railway scheme at 
present being carried forward. We could mention many 
other favours, entirely due to his kindness and consideration, 
which never fail to bring brightness and help in their train, 
but which he would certainly demur to have proclaimed from 
the house-tops. Like all the rest of the parish proprietors, 
however, he is contented to be respected and honoured only 
through his good deeds, and from afar. 

Simon Watterston bought Over Hartside from the Kirk- 
tonhill Henrysons in 1754, and it passed to Mrs Henry 
Torrance (Elizabeth Watterston, wife of Henry Torrance, 
Seggie, Fife) in 1781, and she and her husband were seised 
in fee and liferent of it respectively on 15th August 1792.* 
Their sasine of liferent only is recorded as of date 5th 
August 1785. Mr Torrance was then tenant in Seggie, Fife. 
The property was long under security bonds to various 
individuals, and ultimately in 1 807 was' purchased by Robert 
Sheppard, merchant, Edinburgh, owner of Kirktonhill. 

It must be borne in mind that from the days of Mr 
Dalziel, Over Hartside was divided. The feu right and 
infeftment of one half of it which he possessed, became 
the possession of the Marquis of Tweeddale when the latter 
acquired Nether Hartside.-f- So that the above account, 
from sometime before the days of Simon Watterston, deals 
only with half the lands of Over Hartside. This halving 
caused great confusion in allocating the teinds. One half 
went with the Nether Hartside estate and the other with 
Kirktonhill, So that Robert Sheppard acquired half Over 
Hartside only. In 1821 William Patrick, Esq., W.S., 
bought all Sheppard's property, and half Over Hartside 
went to him. From him it was acquired by John Borth- 
* Sasines. f Decreet of Locality^ p. 215. 


wick, Esq. of Crookston, in 1840, whose son, the present 
John Borthwick, Esq. of Crookston, received sasine of 
it in 1 85 1. This portion of Over Hartside, which was 
separated from the original Over Hartside, has now been 
completely merged into the lands known of Kirktonhill, and 
what is locally known and named Over Hartside is half 
the lands of the original Over Hartside now held by Lord 
Tweeddale, and with Nether Hartside worked as one 

We find Hartside first referred to as a "barony" in 
1728, when Heriotshall is .said to be included in it with its 
pertinents.* It is needless to say that by that time, the 
designation of " barony " had more signification as one of 
courtesy than of real baronial status. In 1724 James 
Fairgrieve was tenant of Hartside, 

Nether Hartside and Over Hartside together have an 
area of 2251 Imperial acres. The whole is leased by John 
Bertram, Esq., Addinston, at a rent of £$02 per annum, 
or about 5s. per acre. The farmhouse is included in this 
rental. Mr Bertram, who is well known in agricultural 
circles as a successful farmer and as a specialist in half- 
bred sheep, holds the lease which his fathers before him 
have held since 1780. 

The land is mostly pasturage, but ploughing is done 
to an extent which necessitates three or four pair of horses 
being kept. Above 70 score of sheep are under the care 
of two shepherds, who alone occupy Over Hartside. The 
land is deeply cut into by several ravines, and varies in 
elevation from 800 ft. to 1533 ft, above sea-level. Nether 
Hartside farmhouse is untenanted, and the farm is what 
is termed " a led-farm." Over Hartside bears many signs 

* Sasines, 


of having been a place of considerable size at one time. 
Traces of building extend all round the present cottages, 
and huge decaying tree-trunks give an air of past dignity 
long ago faded. As it was a separate property, it seems 
to have had also its own proper approaches. There is the 
remnant of an old road which, following the course of 
the present one which passes above " The Beeches " from 
Threeburnford Road, appears to have crossed the head- 
land there, pursuing its way up Rauchy Burn, and reaching 
Over Hartside by a bridge, and a gradually rising ascent 
across the ravine which divides it from Nether Hartside. 

It is impossible now to say which of the two places 
may have been the original Hartside. " Nether Hartside " 
comes into notice first in order to distinguish it from 
another Hartside, without a doubt ; just as Nether 
Howden is called so to mark it out from the original 
Howden, which is now Over Howden. But while there 
is no dubiety about the " Howdens," the case of the 
" Hartsides " is more perplexing. In modern times, im- 
portance certainly weighs to the side of Nether Hartside, 
but in the centuries before the Reformation it might 
have been quite the contrary. Both dwellings have fallen 
from their ancient glory, and though very pleasant and 
desirable places of abode, are now slowly hastening to 
decay. A fortalice is said to have stood near the farm- 
house of Nether Hartside, and the adjoining field in which 
it stood is still called the "Castle" field, but it has been 
erased, we presume, by the usual process of dyke-building, 
like those of Collielaw and Howden. 

Glints as a farm is entirely devoted to pasturing sheep, 
there being 40 score or thereby tended by the shepherd 
Mr Riddell, whose family, six souls in all, alone reside at 


the place. The tenants are Walter Elliot, estate manager, 
Ardtornish, Morven, and John Elliot, Meigle, Galashiels. 
It is rented at ^215 per annum. It stands about iioo ft. 
above sea-level, on a hilly ridge which rises steep and 
bold from the bed of the Armet Water, which runs here at 
about 800 ft. elevation, and also outlines in its course both 
the County and Clints boundary. It is perhaps more than 
two miles from Channelkirk Church, to which, across the 
moors, a hill path brings the shepherd and his family. 
A similar distance lies between it and Fountainhall Station. 


Originally this place must have been of considerable 
importance, and it is probable that from its situation it may 
have dominated as a stronghold the main pass through 
Lauderdale to the Lothians, which was a part of the 
principal route in ancient times from England into Scotland. 
It is now a shepherd's dwelling, and, as a building, is a 
mere heap of stones which gives little honour to its 
proprietor, and less comfort to its tenant, rats and smoke 
holding revelry in it by night and day. But in the centuries 
that lie immediately beyond the Reformation, it was proudly 
associated with the lordly status of the Borthwicks, and, still 
further back, with the feudally famous Mundevilles and 

It seems clear that the name has a reference to the 
times of the early British settlers. Like Soltre, Carfrae, 
and Leader, Glengelt, says Chalmers, is Cambro-British* 
There is no shadow of doubt about Glen being Gaelic. 
Gelt appears to be more dubious. It has been suggested 
that it may have been originally Glen-ne-geilt, the glen of 

* Caledonia. 


terror, but as " geilt" is Irish, the case is doubtful. GeeW^ — 
terror fear ; from the Gaelic, seems possible, as a few Gaelic 
names were to be found in the neighbourhood at an early 
date. The Glen, when clothed with woods and haunted by 
barbarous people, would be well named as a place of 

Apart from any light which the name may throw on the 
existence of Glengelt as a " local habitation," our information 
from historical sources defines it in clear relief as far back 
as the latter part of the twelfth century. The earliest names 
associated with its proprietary are the Veteriponts and 

We learn from Dryburgh Charters that Sir Henry de 
Mundevilla indemnified the Church of Channelkirk from 
the Chapel which he had built at Glengelt, promising that 
no injury should be done to the Mother Church on account 
of it.f There was need of this protection. His territorial 
weight and consequence were of sufficient status to justify 
him in assuming such dignity as a private chapel implied in 
a country gentleman's residence, but such procedure drew 
away from the priest of Channelkirk all the revenue which 
fell to him from feast days, masses, and other specialities of 
the Roman Catholic religion, and Sir Henry was to be 
careful that while he enjoyed private worship in his chapel 
at home on ordinary days, the revenues of these other 
lucrative offices and seasons were to come as usual to 
Channelkirk. This was indemnifying the Mother Church 
from injury by private chapels. This Chapel of Glengelt 
was still in existence, as we shall see, in 1490. 

The charter above referred to is not dated, but it gives us 
light on Glengelt at an earlier period than that in which it 
* MacBean's Gaelic Dictionary. t No. 186. 


was written. Sir Henry tells us that a predecessor in 
Glengelt territory was his ancestor, Lord Ivon de Veteri- 
pont, who gave to Channelkirk Church seven acres of land 
to the east of the church, and the charter is specially framed 
in order that he may supplement his ancestor's gift by other 
three acres. 

The name Veteripont, Veteri-ponte, was originally, it 
appears, Vieux-pont, and became latterly Vipont. A family 
of this name anciently possessed the lands of Aberdour, in 
Fife. Similar to the case of Lauderdale, which passed by 
marriage to the Earls of Galway, the Aberdour estate passed 
with the heiress, in 1 1 26, to Allan Mortimer, and became the 
property of the Douglases two centuries later, and so were 
inherited by their descendants, the Earls of Morton. Sir 
Allan Vipont, who is said to be of Fifeshire extraction, 
held Lochleven against the English about 1332. He had 
previously defended Stirling Castle, and was made prisoner 
by Edward I. in 1 304, when it surrendered after an arduous 

From other sources we ascertain that Ivon de Veteripont 
signed a charter by William de Morville of Lauderdale, 
along with Alan de Sinclair, Carfrae, and Richard de 
Morville. As Richard died in 1189, the signing of the 
charter must have been accomplished before that date, and 
it follows that Ivon de Veteripont, the benevolent friend of 
Channelkirk Church, and proprietor of Glengelt, must have 
been alive about that period. At what time Sir Henry 
himself lived in Glengelt is more doubtful, but we find a 
Henry de Mundevilla, who seems, like the rest of the Scotch 
gentry, to have submitted to Edward I., " invited " by that 
monarch to accompany the Scottish nobles on an expedition 
which he was about to undertake into Flanders. This was 


in 1297, and it is more than probable that this approximates 
the date of the charter under view, and also the period in 
which Sir Henry flourished. Like most of Lauderdale lairds, 
he had, doubtless, rendered homage to Edward I. the 
previous year. 

How long Glengelt remained the property of the Munde- 
villes we can only now conjecture. The times were volcanic, 
and when 13 14 arrived, with Bannockburn as an altering 
factor in Scottish history, lands and men were, for all 
practical purposes, thrown into the King's treasury, and he 
dispensed and disposed them according to his authority and 
wisdom. The representatives of the De Morvilles were 
ousted from Lauderdale, and with them, doubtless, also all 
their favourites, and the new days brought new men, with 
other names and fresher traditions. We find another Henry 
de Mundeville signing a charter cir. 1400, but whether he was 
" of Glengelt " it is hard to say. 

In the year 1458, at Edinburgh, on the 14th day of 
January, the King gave to Lord William Borthwick and his 
heirs the lands of Glengelt, in Berwickshire, which Mary 
Pringle in her pure widowhood had resigned. Lord William 
married her the same year, and the " resignation " on her 
part of Glengelt lands was made, doubtless, in order that new 
infeftment might be given to her husband. Inferentially, 
therefore, we ascertain that the Pringles or Hoppringles, 
an influential family in the Borders, had owned Glengelt 
between the times of the Mundevilles and the Borthwicks, 
although it seems now impossible to say definitely whether 
they had been the only proprietors during that period. 

The Borthwicks had risen into honourable prominence 
during the previous generation. Sir William Borthwick, 
father of this Lord William of Glengelt, was sent Ambassador 


to Rome in 1425, and was created first Lord Borthwick in 
1433, and died before 1458.* It appears that Lord William, 
owner of Glengelt in 1458, had a brother called John de 
Borthwick, who acquired the estate of Crookston in 1446, 
the residence of the present John Borthwick. The latter 
gentleman, also owner of Glengelt, is in direct male line, 
through ten generations, descended from him. If the 
Calendar of Laing Charters is right, the Borthwick title of 
nobility, so long in dispute, seems to incline to the owner 
of Crookston House. 

At Edinburgh, once more, in 1467, the charter of Lord 
William Borthwick is confirmed, in which he gives to his 
son, James de Borthwick, the lands of Glengelt " for the 
filial affection which the said father has towards him, and 
for his services." Perhaps this James may have been the 
first Borthwick resident at Glengelt, as there is every 
probability that just as Cineray, Fenton, Gordonshall, 
Crookston, Bowerhouse, Collielaw, and Soutra became 
residences of the Borthwicks, .so Glengelt would be also 
required to accommodate the increasing scions of the 
noble house. Lord William died in 1483. His son James 
had his troubles, as the following lurid excerpt testifies. 
Moreover, as it sheds considerable light on the people and 
their life in Upper Lauderdale in the fifteenth century, we 
give the story in full. 

We are in the Court of the Lords Auditors in Edinburgh, 
and the time is the 23rd October I490.*f" " The Lords of 
Council decreed that William of Douglas of Cavers and 
William Douglas, his eme (eame = uncle) .sail content and 
pay to James Borthwik of Glengelt and his tenents of 
the samyn, that is to say : — John Smyth, John Somer- 

* Douglas's Peerage. t Acta Doviinoriim Auditoruin. 

2 G 


ville, Gilbert Somerville, Thomas Somerville, Cok Hunt 
(Jok Hunt?), John Grief, and Sire Thomas Hunter, 
Chapellane, threescore of ky and oxin, price of the 
pece (each) owrehed, 2 merkis ; twelfscore of yowis, price 
of the pece, 5 s. ; 40 wedders, price of the pece, 5 s. ; 80 
hoggs, price of the pece, 3s. ; and ane horse and certane 
other gudes utisele and domicill to be avale of 10 merks. 
Quhilk gudes wer spuilzeit and takin out of the saidis 
landis of Glengelt be William Dowglas, in the Denbra, 
George Dowglas, Archibald Dowglas, William Dowglas in 
Cauilling, and Johne Stewart. 

" For the quhilk they tuk them to our souveraine Lord's 
remissioune in the Justice Are of Jedworth, and the said 
William Dowglas of Cavers and William Dowglas becom 
pledges for the satissfaccioune of pairties as wes pressit 
be the copy of the adjurnale extract be Maister Richard 
Lawsoun, Justice Clerk, schewin and producit before the 

" And ordains our souveraine Lords' lettres be direct to 
distreze thaim, thair landis and gudes thairfore, and the 
saidis William and William wer sumond to this Accioun 
oft tymes callit, and nother comperit." 

It will be remembered that the seditious nobles, of 
whom the House of Douglas was chief, brought an army 
to Lauder in 1482, and there hanged the King's favourites 
over its bridge, and took the King himself prisoner to 
Edinburgh. This unhappy state of lawlessness never 
abated till the King fell at Sauchieburn ' in 1488, two years 
before this raid of Glengelt. The loyalty of James 
Borthwik seems to have drawn the wrath of the Douglases 
down upon him, and the cleaning out of the live-stock 
on his lands was the result. 


We note that Glengelt Chapel still flourished at this 
date, and Sir Thomas Hunter (a Pope's knight*) was 
priest. The three Somervilles, tenants in Glengelt, were 
probably the progenitors of the Somervilles who occupied 
so many of Upper Lauderdale farms in the i6th and 17th 
centuries. There were Somervilles tenants in Glengelt 
in 1699, as we shall learn by-and-by. 

As late as 1503 the third Lord William of Borthwick 
obtained sasine of Glengelt, and also many other lands 
which do not fall to be noted here. In the same year 
Collylaw and Bourhouses were held by Allan Borthwick. 

In the memorable year of the battle of Flodden Field, 
viz., 1 5 13, we find another William Borthwick receiving 
sasine of Nenthorne, Glengelt, Colylaw, and Bourhousis. 
There is a sad yet heroic reason for this, as the previous 
proprietor, the third Lord of Borthwick, had just laid down 
his life on that fatal field. 

James Borthwick of Glengelt, probably he whose lands 
the Douglases raided in 1490, married in 1528 Elizabeth, 
first daughter of William Murray of Clermont and Newton, 
fourth son of Andrew Murray of Blackbarony. f In 1543 
James seems to have gone the way of all the earth, for 
in that year John, Lord Borthwick of Borthwick Castle, 
has charter of Glengelt lands, and in 1544-5 sasine is 
granted, and Queen Mary confirms his charter. (Exchequer 
Rolls, G. S.) 

It is ten years afterwards, viz., in 1554, that we hear of 
Michael Borthwick of Glengelt. He is one of the "noble 
and eminent men " {nobiles et egregios vivos) in the 
presence of whom the Retour of Sir William Saintcler of 
Roslyn is sworn to on the 4th of July 1554, before 
* See Knox's Works, vol. i., App., p. 555. t Douglas's Barony. 


Patrick Irland, Sheriff Depute of Edinburgh.* In 1556 
Glengelt is included in Borthwick barony along with Colle- 
law and Bourhous. f Michael Borthwick of Glengelt figures 
again in the Privy Council Records of 1570 along with his 
kindred in a way that more than suggests the lawlessness 
of the times, and the part the Borthwicks played in them. 
William, Lord Borthwick, Michael Borthwick of Glengelt 
(Glenhilt), and John Borthwick, sign, in that year, the 
conditions on which men were received to the King's 
obedience, who — I. Underlay the law for murther ; II. Were 
in arms against his Majesty; and III. Who must keep 
the peace between England and Scotland. J The Borth- 
wicks evidently needed restraint imposed upon them, and 
do not appear to have been famous during this period 
for possessing the qualities of the dove. But they lived in 
times when a man's own arm was often the best guarantee 
of his retaining life and property. In this same year, for 
example, special measures had to be taken against " the 
daylie and continwale stowthes, reiffis, heirschippis, birn- 
ingis, slawchteris, and depredationes of thieves and tra- 
towris" throughout Lauderdale, Merse, Lammermuir and 
the Lothians,§ and where blows were so common, and 
battle the order of the day, the Borthwicks were not 
likely to be found fast asleep in bed. But some of them 
could fight with other weapons than swords. Sir John 
Borthwick of Cinery, younger son of the third Lord 
William, who perished at Flodden, was put into Cardinal 
Beaton's black books as a heretic, and had the honour 
to be cited before him at St Andrews to answer the 
charge. But he knew better than to walk into such a 

* Father Haye's Genealogie of the Sinclairs. t Exchequer Rolls. 
X Privy Council. § Ibid. 


trap, and escaped to England, but was condemned and 
excommunicated in absence, and had his effigy burnt at 
St Andrews market cross. He survived, however, to end 
<'his aige with fulnesse of daies at St Andrewes," before 
1570, leaving his son William as his heir.* So in 1571, 
on the 23rd October, the King confirms the charter of 
William, Lord Borthwick, in which he concedes to his 
eldest son, Wm. Borthwick, all his estate, including Glen- 
gelt, f " Michael Borthwick of Glengelt " is mentioned in 
it as one of several of the Borthwicks in the reversion. 
James Borthwick, heir of William, Master of Borthwick, 
his full brother, is returned in 1573 in the lands of 
Nenthorn, Legerwood, Glengelt, Collielaw, and Burnhous 
(probably Bourhouse), with right of patronage of churches 
and chapels on these lands and others. } In August of 
1 571 we are told that among "the names of theis that 
were fifoirfalted" was James Borthwick, "sone to Michael 
Borthuike (Glengelt)." § This means that for some 
crime he had " forfalted " or forfeited all his rights in 

Some indication is given in 1588 which shows the extent 
of Glengelt lands. They are mentioned as one of the 
boundaries — the east — of the " sucken " of Oxton Mill 
(Mountmill). The Kirkhaugh, which lay near Mountmill, 
and which was excambed for the present north part of the 
glebe in 1 871, is said to be bounded by Glengelt "on the 
north and east," and consequently all the ground at present 
north of Mountmill and round by Annfield Inn appears 
to have been included in Glengelt at that 

John Borthwick of Glengelt is witness on 1 3th February 

* Knox's Works, vol. i,, p. 533. t Great Seal. 

J Retours. % Richard Banna/yne's Memoirs, ^p. i%$. || Great Seal. 


1592-3 to a charter by James, Lord Borthwick, in which he 
alienates certain lands to Lady Grissill Scott.* 

When we arrive at the period of 1631, Glengelt is clean 
gone from the Borthwicks and possessed by Sir Adam 
Hepburn of Humbie, who also held about this time several 
properties in Channelkirk parish.f The Titulars of the 
teinds obtained decreet of valuation against him in that 
year, "as heritor of the said lands." The valuation and 
those concerned in it may be interesting to some. 

Before the sub-Commissioners, "the said Thos. Markell 
in Headshaw, of the said age, sworne and admittit, deponit 
that the lands of Glengelt with pertinents within the said 
parochin may pay and will be worth in constant rent 
communibiis annis v<= merks" (^25, 15s. 6d. J approx.) 
" James Richardson in Kirktonhill of the age of Ix yeires 
or thereby, married, sworn," etc., witnesses as above. With 
the above rent Glengelt was in 163 1 teinded at the rate of 
£(i6, 13s. 4d. Scots. But the sub-Commissioners' valuation 
does not seem to have been allowed in law. At the begin- 
ning of this century the rental was £2%^ and the teind 
A7, I2s.§ 

The following document sheds a very clear light on 
Glengelt, and doubtless gives us the connecting proprietors 
between the Borthwicks and Sir Adam Hepburn. 

" 1638, Jan. 16. — At Dalkeith, the King . . . concedes 
to Mr Adam Hepburne of Humbie . . . the lands of Glen- 
gelt, with manor place, mill, fishings, within the bailiary 
of Lauderdale . . . which formerly pertained to Andrew 
Edmonstoun, now of Ednem ; Sir David Chrichtoun of 
Lugton, Knight ; Lady Janet Edmonstoun, his wife ; Robert 

* Calendar of Laing Charters. t Decreet of Locality^ p. 154. 

+ Teind Papers. § Decreet of Locality. 


Dicksoun of Buchtrig (parish of Hownam, Roxburghshire); 
Agnes Edmonstoun, his wife ; James Cockburn of Ryslaw ; 
Mary Edmonstoun, his wife ; Alexander Home, paternal 
uncle to James, Earl of Home and Lord of Dunglas ; 
Margaret Edmonstoun, his wife ; John, Lord Borthwick ; 
Hugh Wilson in Ginglekirk (whose son James is referred to 
in the account of Rev. Walter Keith, Channelkirk minister) ; 
John Rae, at Glengelt Mill ; John Steill, in Glengelt ; Staig 
and William Markill, residents there ; John Wricht, in 
Ormistoun ; and William Somervell, resident there ; and on 
20th December 1637 were appraised for past-due duties 
(in terms of Declarator of Non-entry * by the said Mr Adam, 
obtained 28th July 1637), extending to 7877^ merks, and 
393 merks seven shillings and fourpence for the Sheriff's 

The Mill of Glengelt (Mountmill) is here included in 
these lands. In 163 1 it is said to have been the property of 
Robert Lawson of Humbie, with the mill lands, and its 
severance from Glengelt produced no little annoyance sub- 
sequently in the teind cases relating to Channelkirk. J 

The Edmonstons of Edmonston held much land in 
the parishes of Liberton, Cranstoun, Fala, Crichton, Newton, 
and Ednam about the beginning of the sixteenth century. 

* As a Superior was entitled to have some one bound to perfomi the 
services stipulated for in the orginal grant, the heir of the vassal was not 
entitled on the death of his ancestor to enter into possession of the lands 
until he had acknowledged the Superior by entering with him, i.e.^ ac- 
cepting a charter which substituted him as vassal in room of his ancestor. 
Till this was done, the Superior was entitled to take possession of the 
lands and levy the rents, to the exclusion to the vassal's heirs or dis- 
ponees ; and this right was called the casualty of non-entry.— Juridical 
Styles^ vol. i., p. 7, fifth edition. 

t Great Seal. 

X Decreet of Locality^ pp. 268, 271. 


We also learn that at this date, 1637, the Glengelt 
lands were in debt to Thomas, Earl of Haddington, "ane 
yeirly annual rent of ane hundreth pundis,* viz., from 
Martimes 1619 inclusive to Witsonday last bypast, 1637, 
inclusive, extending to the sowme of ane thousand sevine 
hundreth fiftie pundis" (^1750), and Mr Adam Hepburne of 
Humbie becomes caution that the goods and gear above 
specified (viz., the debts) shall be forthcoming.-f- He was 
one of the Earl's curators in 1640.J It is in this year that 
Glengelt with mill is conceded to him in liferent,§ and to 
Thomas, his eldest son (in fee), he giving for blench-farm II 
a red rose, as the Borth wicks had done before him. 

We ascertain that about this time William Wight was 
tenant in Glengelt, and died on i6th April 1682. His 
brother, Alexander Wight, was tenant in it at a later date, 
and died i8th September 1736. 

Mr John Sleich or Sligh is returned on March 27, 
1695, as holding Glengelt and bequeathing it on that date 
to the "heir portioner" William Cockburn, son of Henry 
Cockburn, Provost of Haddington, one of the Cockburns 
probably of Clerkington, II Mr John Sleich was also 

* Memorials of the Earls of Haddington, 1889, vol ii., p. 306. 

t Ibid., p. 312. 

% Ibid., vol. i., p. 201. § Great Seal. 

II It not unfrequently happened that a Superior in need of ready 
money agreed to accept a capital sum in lieu of future services or pay- 
ments, or that the Superior wished to confer on his vassal a free gift for 
distinguished services, and in such circumstances a purely nominal 
annual payment was stipulated, merely as an acknowledgment of the 
Superior's paramount right, such as a penny Scots, a rose, a pair of 
spurs, or a pair of gloves, these being generally exigible only in the 
event of their being demanded by the Superior within the year. The 
tenure thus created was called blench or blenchfarm. — Juridical Styles^ 
vol. i., p. 5., fifth edition. 

^ Retours. 


Provost of Haddington. SHgh is, however, owner of and 
teinded for Glengelt lands in 1691, four years prior to the 
above date.* The year in which WilHam Cockburn is 
returned as heir portioner of Glengelt, viz., 1695, is also the 
one in which John Robertson is said to possess it, so that 
it must have passed quickly out of Cockburn's hands. " It 
appeared that in 1695 an heritable bond had been granted 
by John Robertson, then proprietor of Glengelt, and also 
of the mill and mill lands and of the lands about Gingle- 
kirk in which the mill was called the mill of Glengelt, and the 
lands of Ginglekirk were called Glengelt lands.^f- Four 
years pass away, and again Glengelt undergoes changes 
which, however, are somewhat unpleasant. On the i6th of 
November 1699, "John Mathie, skipper," J obtains decreet 
of poinding the ground against the tenants of Glengelt, 
Janet Somerville in "Glengelt Town-head," and Janet 
Somerville in " Glengelt Town-foot," John Henderson in 
Glengelt Milne, and Master Andrew Mein in "Ginglekirk, 
called Glengelt lands." These lands ultimately come into 
the possession of Thomas Mathie, a merchant in Cockenzie, 
son and heir of John Mathie, his father, merchant in 
Prestonpans, who died 15th March 1726. Thomas Mathie 
sells them in 173 1 to William Hunter, merchant in Edin- 
burgh and Dalkeith. The latter holds Nether Howden 
also at this time, and having died about 1742, Glengelt is 
found in the hands of his daughter, Agnes Hunter, in I745.§ 
She appears to have built the present house of Glengelt, 
as her full name is carved on the lintel of the door with 
the date 1743. In 1748 she is married to John Borthwick, 
Esq. of Crookston, as we find him' obtaining sasine of 

* Decreet of Locality^ p. 163. f Ibid.^ p. 273. 

X Ibid., p. 160. § Ibid., p. 161, 


Glengelt and Mountmfll in that year as her husband. For 
nearly i8o years Glengelt had been out of the hands 
of the Borthwicks, and here it returned to them, to all 
appearance, as it probably came at first, in the shape of a 
marriage dowry. In 178 1 John Borthwick of Crookston 
and William his son are seised in liferent and fee respect- 
ively in Glengelt* John Borthwick, heir to his brother 
William, is seised in Glengelt, 15th April i8o2.-f- Mention 
is often made, about this time, of part of " the Moss of 
Glengelt," as being included in Justicehall property. Towards 
the end of last century, from about 1780, the property of 
Glengelt was bonded to a considerable extent, chiefly to 
Sir John Dalrymple Hamilton MacGill of Cousland and 
his heirs. We believe it is the last mentioned John Borth- 
wick of Crookston who is mentioned in a corrective note 
in Scott's Monastery. X He died about 1846, and Glengelt 
is under trustees then, the present John Borthwick being 
seised in it and all his other properties in this parish on 
1 0th November i85i.§ 

It is worthy of notice that Glengelt is said to include, at 
the end of the seventeeth century, the lands of Ginglekirk. 
Perhaps this understanding came down from the time when 
Sir Ivon de Veteriponte [cir. 1 1 89) gave 7 acres of Glengelt 
lands to Channelkirk Church, supplemented as we have seen 
by other three from Sir Henry de Mundeville, his descendant. 
These 10 acres lay immediately to the east of the church, all 
of which are now included in New Channelkirk Farm, that is, 
Mr Borthwick's lands. It is clear that anciently Glengelt 
lands must have enclosed all the land east of the church, 

* Sasines. t Lindsay's Index to Retours. 

I "Centenary Edition," 1871. § Sasines. 


taking in all the space bounded at present by Mountmill 
steading and Annfield Inn. 

If we are to rely upon the geographers, it is quite a 
modern designation which applies the name of " Lammer- 
moor " to the hills around Upper Lauderdale. According to 
Font's map in Blaeu's Atlas, the entire sweep of hill area 
which embraces Soutra Hill, Headshaw Hill, and the hills 
surrounding Kelphope Water is called " Glengelt Felles." H. 
Moll's map of 1725 includes in this designation the whole 
circle of hills surrounding Upper Lauderdale, beginning 
from Whitelaw on the west, and enclosing Over Howden, 
Airhouse, Channelkirk, Glengelt, Headshaw, and Kelphope. 
That both geographers should have treated the " Lammer- 
moors " and " Glengelt Felles " as distinct and separate hill- 
districts is not without a certain significance. At what time 
in the remote past Glengelt may have given its name to the 
hills around Upper Lauderdale we have no means now of 
ascertaining, but the fact seems indisputable, as far, at least, 
as these maps can guide us ; and a reasonable inference 
seems to follow, viz., that Glengelt at that period must have 
had weight and importance sufficient to impress its name 
widely beyond what its modern status and environment 
would appear to indicate. The sanction must have been a 
traditionary one, and bestowed, no doubt, far back in the 
earlier centuries of the historical epoch. 

The minister of Channelkirk remarks of it in 1627 : — 
" Greingelt is in stok 1000 merks, personage 6 scoir lib., 
viccarage ane 100 merkis," by far the largest farm in the 
parish at that time. The beginning of this century saw it 
tenanted by Mr Shiels, who was followed by the brothers 
George and Walter Peacock. Then the late John Archibald, 
Overshiels, so well known throughout the Borders as a 


breeder of sheep, became tenant in 1846. At that time 
New Channelkirk was farmed by James Anderson. Mr 
Archibald became tenant of that farm also in 1854, when 
Glengelt and it were put under the same lease. New 
Channelkirk became after this the chief steading for the 
Glengelt lands, and Glengelt decreased to its present dimen- 

A place worthy of mention on Glengelt lands is The Den, 
sometimes called Lourie's Den. The following regarding it 
gives the principal particulars : — * 

" The old hostelry or roadside public-house of Hunter's 
Hall or Lourie's Den was on the south side of Soutra Hill. 
Although in Berwickshire, it was just on the border of East 
Lothian, on the road to Carfraemill and Lauder. It is now 
unoccupied as an inn, but was long ago a well-known house, 
where travellers could get good cheer and a night's up-put- 
ting. It is said that Prince Charlie's highlanders, on the 
march to England, stopped and got refreshments there. On 
its signboard there was the representation of a huntsman 
blowing his bugle-horn with the foxhounds around him, and 
the following doggerel lines of poetry : — 

' Humpty, dumpty, herrie, perrie, 
. Step in here and ye'll be cherrie ; 
Try our speerits and our porter, 
They'll make the road the shorter ; 
And if ye hae a mind to stay, 
Your horse can get guid corn and hay.' 

' Good entertainment for man and horse.' " 

Instead of " Humpty, dumpty," the above is sometimes 
varied by " Riftem, Tiftem," which was said to be the inn- 
keeper's nickname. 

* Reminiscences of the Comity of Haddington, 1890, p. 223. 


" A person of the name of Lourie was said to have been 
the innkeeper in old times, and hence its name of Lourie's 
Den. It was once the great stopping place for drovers' carts 
and carriers from Lauderdale and the south, going to and 
from Dalkeith market, etc. A bloody fight betwixt two 
gipsies of the Faa and Shaw tribes long ago took place in the 
field opposite the inn, when one of them was killed. The 
survivor was tried and hanged." 

It appears to be in reference to the above-mentioned fight 
that we have in our Kirk Records the item which says : — 
" Sept. 4, 1772 — To Thomas Wilson for a coffin to the man 
that was murdered at Huntershall — 6s." This seems to imply 
that Huntershall and Lourie's Den were identical, and not 
separate places as has been said. 

We cull the following account of the affair from another 
source * : — " There used to be, and perhaps still is, a small 
public-house on the roadside, between Lauder and Dalkeith, 
called Lourie's Den. It stood in a very lonely situation, 
near the steep mountain pass of Soutra Hill, the terror of 
the South country carters in pre-railway times. It was 
seldom one could get past it without witnessing a drunken 
fight, if not getting implicated in it — in fact, the place was 
infamous. The neighbourhood was a harbourage for the 
gipsies, who could make their way thence across the hills, 
without let or hindrance, either to Gala Water, Leithen 
and Eddleston Waters, the Blackadder, which runs down 
into the Merse, the Haddingtonshire Tyne, the South Esk 
in Midlothian, or right down Lauderdale into Teviotdale, 
and thence into England. 

" Many a gipsy fight as well as carter's squabble has 
taken place at Lourie's Den. Little more than a century 
* Gypsies of Yetholm, p. 64 (Wm. Brockie, Kelso, 1884). 


ago it was the scene of a terrible conflict. Two gipsy 
chiefs, named respectively Robert Keith and Charles 
Anderson, who had somehow fallen out, and followed each 
other for some time for the purpose of fighting out their 
quarrel, met at last at Lourie's Den. The two antagonists 
were brothers-in-law, Anderson being married to Keith's 
sister. Anderson proved an overmatch for Keith ; and 
William Keith, to save his brother, laid hold of Anderson. 
Whereupon Madge Greig, Robert's wife, handed her husband 
a knife, and called on him to despatch the villain while 
unable to defend himself, owing to his hands being held. 
Robert repeatedly struck with the knife, but it rebounded 
from the unhappy man's ribs without much effect. Impatient 
at the delay, Madge called out to the assassin, ' Strike 
laigh ! strike laigh ! ' and, following her directions, he 
stabbed him to the heart. The only remark made by any 
of the gang was this exclamation from one of them : — 
' Gude faith, Rob, ye've dune for 'im noo 1 ' William Keith 
was astonished when he found that Anderson had been 
stabbed in his arms, as his interference was only to save 
his brother from being overpowered by him. Robert 
Keith instantly fled, but was pursued by the country 
folks, armed with pitchforks and muskets. He was caught 
in a bracken bush, in which he had concealed himself, and 
was executed at Jedburgh on the 24th November 1772. 
One of the individuals who assisted at Keith's capture 
was the father of Sir Walter Scott. Long afterwards 
William Keith was apprehended in a ruinous house in 
Peeblesshire for his share in the murder, but not till he 
had made, though half-naked, a desperate resistance to 
the officers .sent to capture him. He was tried, condemned, 
and banished to the plantations." " Even before this, how- 


ever," says another authority,* "the place had a sinister 
reputation. Several packmen or pedlars had mysteriously 
disappeared. No clue to their fate was got until one warm 
summer, many years after, the goose-dub or small pond 
opposite the door became completely dry and exposed a 
number of human bones, revealing the gruesome secret." 

Lourie's Den is now the shieling of Glengelt " ootby 
shepherd," and after such a terrible past enjoys a peace- 
ful respectability ; and the very sight of the lonely cottage 
on the wide moor is like the face of a friend to many a 
tired traveller. Mr Dodds, the schoolmaster of Channel- 
kirk, once took Tam Spence to the Den to "cast" his 
peats. Tam was a wag with a wit that was well known in 
Oxton. After a spell of the spade, both rested to refresh 
themselves. The schoolmaster had provided a " pistol " 
which he proceeded alone to despatch. " That's fine whusky, 
Mr Dodds," quoth Tam, with sticky lips. " How do you 
know, Tam, when you haven't tasted it ? " replied the dominie. 
" Becus ye' re keepin' 't a' tae yersel," was Tam's reply. 

The " Redbraes " lies almost half-way between the Den 
and Glengelt. It has a painful notoriety as having been 
the spot where the dead body of Dr Gibson of Lauder 
was found some years ago. Death had been compassed 
by cutting the throat. The body was found lying on the 
north side of the road, as it crosses the deep ravine at 
that place. 

As a hill farm, Glengelt, the steading of which is 
now named New Channelkirk, has many points in its 
favour. Its fields are all easy of access, and there must 
be few spots which the reaper-and-binder machine cannot 

* Chambers's Journal^ 28th April 1888, "Across the Lammermoors," by 
Mr Mowat. 


reach, although there is a considerable slope on every one 
of them. It has abundance of water in the Leader, which 
flows past the farmhouse, and first-class springs are in the 
neighbourhood. Its soil is variable, however, — some fields 
being light and gravelly, and others of a heavy clay. 
Attention to the drains would improve the latter consider- 
ably, especially on the hill pasture-land. It affords good 
shooting to sportsmen, as a large part of Soutra Moor lies 
within its marches. In Mr Archibald's hands the farm 
was famous for its sheep. In area it comprises nearly 
1650 acres or thereby, of which about 276 are arable, 
258 permanent grass, and the rest good hill pasture. 
It rents, at present, at £S7^> ^os. The steading, to be 
regularly resided in, might require improvements. As its 
locality is lower almost than most of the fields, the home 
journeys are always easy tasks for horses. Two shepherds 
are employed. The stock is a mixed one and rather 
numerous, there being, perhaps, 70 score of sheep and 
a considerable number of cattle. The present tenant, who is 
outgoing Whitsunday 1900, is Thomas Milne Skirving, 
Niddrie Mains, Liberton, Mr Forrest succeeds. 



The Name — Residence in 1206 — Sir Vivian de Mulineys — Thomas the 
Cleric — The Borthwicks — The Heriots — Reduplication of Place- 
Names — The Kers of Morristoun — House of Binning and Byres — 
Fairgrieve — Adinston of Carcant — The Scottish Episcopal Fund — 
Earl of Lauderdale — Tenants. 

As Oxton, Carfrae, Hartside, and Glengelt are designated 
Baronies in law instruments, so Collielaw, Airhouse, Over 
Howden, and Kirktonhill may be styled Residences^ as 
distinguished from ordinary farm's, both on account of their 
ancient importance in Upper Lauderdale, and the re- 
sidentiary status which their proprietors long conferred 
upon them. 

The name Collielaw, CoUelaw, or Colela, seems to be derived 
from two sources. " Law " is the English " Low," but on 
the Scottish Borders it means a mound, a rising ground, 
after the Anglo-Saxon hlaw. A Law rises behind Collielaw 
to the west, reaching 1286 ft. above sea-level, and doubtless 
accounts sufficiently for the latter part of the name. Colle 
may come from the Gaelic coille^ " wood," and perhaps it is 
just possible that Lauderdale may have possessed as many 
Gaelic people as impose names upon some of its places. 
But this can scarcely be insisted upon with much seriousness. 
There is an alternative view. It may be derived from the 

2 H 


Anglo-Saxon Col, Colly, meaning sooty, begrimed, black. If 
it were so, and the probabilities lean that way, then the 
complete word would look like Colly-hlaw, and mean The 
Black Hill. At a time when dense woods clothed all 
the hills surrounding the Leader, this designation would 
admirably suit the locality. 

The present Collielaw is not the ancient one. The old 
manor place and fortalice stood a little to the south-west 
of the present farmhouse and steading, and at a correspond- 
ing elevation to that of Bowerhouse and Over Howden. 
A few trees and traces of old wall foundations still serve to 
fix the original locality of Old Collielaw. The remaining 
vestiges of stone buildings were still in good evidence about 
seventeen years ago, as vouched by the present steward, 
who used them as shelter for stock in stormy weather, 
but these have also vanished, and now form part of the 
field fences. 

The earliest historical reference to it is about 1206 A.D. 
In the Charters of Kelso Abbey there is a conveyance made 
of five carucates of land by Alan, Lord Galloway, from his 
estate in Upper Lauderdale to the Kelso monks.* In the 
description of the boundaries of these carucates, "the tofts 
and crofts of William of Colilawe " are given as landmarks 
lying on the line of division. It is clear that at this early 
time Collielaw was a fixed residence, with its lands cultivated, 
and the houses of dependents adjoining it, similar to what 
they are now, although, perhaps, not to the same extent. 
In Soltre Charters there is a certain pious Sir Vivian de 
Mulineys (Molineaux), who, being moved by divine piety 
and desire of the salvation of the souls of " my lords, viz., 
Roland and Alan of Galway," the souls of his ancestors 
* Liber dc Calchon, Charter No. 245. 




and successors, as well as the salvation of his own soul, 
gives and concedes, and by this his charter confirms, to God 
and the House of Soltre and the brethren for ever, " my 
land of Salton by its just boundaries as measured by Sir 
Walter Olifard, Justiciar of Lothian {cir. 12 14- 1249), by order 
of the sovereign the King (Alex. II.), the same, that is, 
which was given to me in excambion (exchange) for my 
land of Collilaw, which Alan of Galway, of good memory 
for homage and service, gave to me with all pertinents and 

The date of this document is given as A.D. 1236- 1238, 
and both Earls of Galway are evidently referred to as being 
dead. As Lord Alan died in 1234, and Sir Vivian received 
Collielaw from him, it is patent that the gift of it by the 
former must have been made between that date and the 
beginning of the century when Lord Alan succeeded his 
father Rolland in the estate of Lauderdale. Short references 
here and there regarding Sir Vivian de Mulineys seem to 
indicate that he was on terms of close friendship with the 
leading men of his age, but especially with the Lords of 
Lauderdale and Galway. He is a witness to one of Wm. 
de Morville's charters, which (1189-96) confirms his mother's 
gifts of lands and privileges to the monks of St Mary of 
Furneis, Neubi.^f He is found in a similar capacity {cir. 1 206) 
in Charter 246 of Kelso Abbey, and also somewhat later 
in No. 70 of Holyrood Charters, and again in Charter No, 12 
of the Domus de Soltre. 

It may have been about the beginning of the fourteenth 
century, or perhaps earlier, that Thomas the Cleric, son of 
the " William of Collilaw " mentioned above, gave, conceded, 

* Domus de Soltre, No. 32. 

I Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland, vol. i. 


and confirmed to God and the Church of St Cuthbert at 
Childenchirch, and the canons of Dryburgh, eight acres of 
land, four arable and four pasture, viz., the Haugh under 
Langside in the territory of Ulkilstoun (Oxton)."* This is 
doubtless the part of the glebe which was the cause of much 
disputation in the Court of Session intermittently from the 
middle of the last till the close of the third decade of this 
century, and which was excambed for the present north part 
of the glebe in 1871. Thomas the Cleric did not give away 
a great deal when he bestowed these acres, for their ex- 
posure to the floods of Airhouse Water render them a 
precarious good, owing to sand silting and the changing bed 
of the stream. He asserts that he will warrant these lands 
against all men, and affixes his seal to the document in 
order that his donation may have perpetual force {perpetuum 
robur). He sincerely desired, no doubt, that Channelkirk 
Church should possess his acres for ever, but alas for the 
" force " ! Thomas was alive in the days of Allan of Hertis- 
heued (Hartside), and was Superior over some of Allan's 
houses and lands in Oxton territory, and we know that 
Allan lived about 1327, in the reign of King Robert the 

More than a hundred years pass away before we catch 
a glimpse once more of Collielaw. In 1473 the King con- 
firms Lord William Borthwick's charter, in which he concedes 
to his son Thomas, for good and faithful service, and for 
filial love, the lands of Collilaw. The Borthwicks first came 
into Channelkirk parish a generation earlier through the 
possession of Glengelt.J In 1490 this Thomas Borthwick 

* Liber de Dryburgh^ No. 185. 
t Original Charters, vol i., p 98. 
X Great Seal and Exchequer Rolls. 


is at law with William Cranstoun for ;^8 Scots due from 
Michelston lands, " lik as the said William wes bundin be 
his obligation under his sele schewin and producit befor 
the lords," and " the lords " " ordains that lettres be writtin 
to distreze said William his lands and guds for the said soume 
to the releving of the said Thomas."* In 1503 matters have 
to be readjusted regarding Collielaw. A new Lord William, 
who fell at Flodden ten years later, has another charter 
confirmed by the King, wherein he concedes to Allan Borth- 
wick, son to Lord William's paternal uncle, Sir Thomas 
Borthwick of Colylaw, the lands of Colylaw, personally 
resigned by the said Thomas and his wife, Helen Rutherford. 
There is reserved free tenement to Sir Thomas, and a 
reasonable third to his wife, with other privileges which are 
noticed under " Bowerhouse." -j- Hoppringle of Smailholm 
receives in 15 10 certain sums from several places in Lauder- 
dale, and among them CoUilaw yields him 6s. 8d. yearly. 

In 1 513, the fatal year of Flodden, William, Lord Borth- 
wick, receives sasine of Colylaw, and in 1538, on 21st 
August, the King confirms the grant of the same lands with 
all Borthwick estates, " now incorporated into the free barony 
of Borthwick, on account of the said Lord William's good 
service to the King in his youth." I 

Collielaw is in the hands of John, Lord Borthwick, in 
1543, his charter being confirmed on 15th January of that 
year by Queen Mary.§ 

When the Reformation passes in 1566, and our some- 
what intermittent chronicle brings us to the year 1 571, the 
House of Borthwick stands out before us in great territoria 
dignity, and because mention is made of advowsons of churches 

* Ac/a Dominorum Concilii. t Great Seal. 

X Ibid. § Ibid, and Exchequer Rolls. 


and chapels being in their hands, we presume that some portion 
of the wealth of the suppressed Romanists had found its way 
into their exchequer. In that year the King confirms the 
charter of William, Lord Borthwick, in which he concedes to 
William, his eldest son, " all the lands, barony, and dominion 
of Borthwick, viz., the lands of the Moat of Lochquharrat and 
its castle, now called the Castle of Borthwick, likewise half 
the lands of Middleton, the lands and town of Buitland, the 
land of Heriot and Heriotsmoor, in Midlothian ; the lands of 
Borthwick in Selkirkshire ; lands of Little Ormiston, Heath- 
pule, and Whitefield in Peebleshire ; lands of Hyndeford in 
Lanarkshire ; lands and barony of Aberdour in Aberdeen- 
shire ; lands of Nenthorn, Legerwood, Glengelt, Collelaw, 
and Bowerhouse, in Berwickshire ; with towers, fortalices, 
houses, buildings, mills, multures, and sequels annexed to 
these ; with the patronage of churches and chapels, holdings, 
etc., all of which were incorporated by King James V. into 
one barony of Borthwick : Holding of the said William 
Borthwick and the masculine heirs of his body legitimately 
begotten ; whom failing, of James Borthwick, his second son, 
and the heirs of him ; whom failing, of William Borthwick, 
son and heir of the late Sir John Borthwick of Cinery, knight, 
and the heirs of him ; whom failing, of Michael Borthwick of 
Glengelt, and his heirs ; whom failing, of John Borthwick 
of Gordonshall ; whom failing, of John Borthwick of Crook- 
ston ; whom failing, of William Borthwick of Soutray," 
etc., etc. 

It is evident that both in family influence and in wealth 
and weight of property, the Borthwicks had, at this time, 
their full share in the changing history of their country. 
Sir John of Cinery, above mentioned, has been alluded to 
in our notice of Glengelt, and he seems to have been quite 


the " worthie knight " which Caldervvood, in his history, 
designates him, fighting a good fight for the Protestant faith, 
and only escaping the martyr's doom by fire through a 
judicious exercise of Borthwick wit and Scotch caution. He 
died somewhat before 1570, happy in seeing at St Andrews, 
to which he was invited by Cardinal Beaton, doubtless to be 
burned, the unchallenged reign of that religion he loved so 

As an example of the other type of Borthwick we give 
the following account in which James Borthwick of Collie- 
law figures somewhat prominently : — 

"30th April 1585. — John Livingstone of Belstane * (in the 
parish of Carluke, Lanarkshire) complained to the Council 
of an assault which had been made upon him on the 3rd 
of the preceding February by sundry persons, whose motive 
in so assailing him does not appear. The affair is most 
characteristic — indeed, a type of numberless other lawless 
proceedings of the time. John quietly leaves his house 
before sunrise, meaning no harm to any one, and expect- 
ing none to himself He walks out, as he says, under 
God's peace and the King's, when suddenly he is beset by 
about forty people who had him at feud, 'all bodin in feir 
of weir,' namely, armed with jacks, stell-bonnets, spears, 
lance-staffs, bows, hagbuts, pistolets, and other invasive 
weapons forbidden by the laws. At the head of them was 
William, Master of Yester — a denounced rebel on account 
of his slaughter of the Laird of Westerhall's servant — etc., 
etc., James Borthwick of Colela, etc., were among the 
company, evidently all of them men of some figure and 
importance. Having come for the purpose of attacking 
Livingstone, they no sooner saw him than they set upon 
* Reign of James V/., vol i., pp. 299-300. 


him, with discharge of their firearms, to deprive him of 
his Hfe. He narrowly escaped and ran back to his house, 
which they immediately environed in the most furious 
manner, firing in at the windows, and through every 
other aperture, for a space of three hours. A bullet pierced 
his hat. As they departed, they met his wife and daughter, 
whom they abused shamefully. In short, it seems altogether 
to have been an affair of the most barbarous and violent 
kind. The offenders were all denounced rebels." This 
was not the beginning of James's "life of sturt and strife." 
From Richard Bannatyne's Memoirs''^ we learn that in 
August 1 57 1, among "the names of theis that were 
foirfalted," were James Borthuike, Glengelt, and "James 
Borthuike of Colila." Another " foirfalted " or forfeited 
name, notable in this parish from the teind interest which 
the family has through centuries held in it, was that of 
"Johne Cranstoun of Morstoun" (Moray's town) (Morriston, 
Legerwood). The Borthwicks, indeed, seem never to have 
lacked plenty of vigour, and they lived their lives at all 
times with great spirit and evident enjoyment. Perhaps 
it was about this time, however, that the family cup, long 
running over with the wine of wealth and influence, began 
perceptibly to ebb. When the moral foundations which 
are ever the deepest are undermined, family honours, 
names, and properties soon sink out of sight in their 
country's affairs as the wrecked ship on the silting sea- 
beach slowly disappears beneath the sand. Even the cloud- 
capped tower, be it Eiffel or otherwise, is only guaranteed 
stability when it preserves its true relations to the old 
earth and the laws of gravitation. Many Scottish houses 
of proud pedigree, to-day lie mouldering half-in-half-out 

* Page 185. 


of their burial vaults, not because of lack of heirs, influence, 
intellect, or wealth, but purely because they despised the 
" righteousness that alone exalteth a nation." 

James Borthwick, Lord William's heir and full brother, is 
returned in October 1573 as possessor of Collelawe, and 
much else. 

After this date the Borthwicks make their exit from 
Collielaw, and the Heriots step into their place. On the 
15th of May 1601, we read of George Herriott of CoUelaw, 
who is heir to Peter Herriott in Leyth, his brother, receiving 
"an annual return of 20 merks (;^I3, 6s. 8d.) from the croft 
of land called Channonis Croft, near to the church of Lawder, 
within the burgage of the said burgh and bailiary of Lauder- 
daill."* And on nth August 1602 he is returned as also 
receiving 24 merks from the ecclesiastical lands of Legert- 

These Heriots of Leith, who had interest at this time in 
Airhouse, Collielaw, Legerwood, and Trabroun, may have 
been related to the John Heriot of Gladsmuir, who acquired 
Trabroun in that parish from Archibald, Earl of Douglas, 
for military service about 1622, and was grandfather to 
George Heriot, founder of Heriot's Hospital, Edinburgh."!" 
George, father to the celebrated philanthropist, died in 16 10. 
The personal history of the founder himself is rather meagre, 
but the dates at which we find the Heriots in Trabroun, 
Collielaw, and other places in Lauderdale, are contempor- 
aneous with his life, he having been born about 1563, and 
died in I^ondon, 1624.I 

* Retours. 

t Dr Stevens' Memoir of Heriot. 

X See also Scott's Fortunes of Nigel ^ notes. If Leith Burgh Records 
had gone back to 1600, we might, perhaps, have learned something more 
concerning the Heriots of Collielaw. 


In 163 1 an action was raised by "John, Earl of Mar, and 
Alex. Cranstoun of Morriestoun, equall heritable proprietors 
of teinds in Channelkirk, against Andro Law of Bourhouses, 
heritor of the lands of Bourhouses and CoUielaw." These 
two places are afterwards combined in designation as in the 
" barony of Pilmuir." Andro Law, it appears, possessed but 
two-thirds of Collielaw, the remaining third being still held 
by the Heriots of Trabroun. 

In October 1633, Anna Heriot, daughter of the late Robert 
Heriot of Trabroune, heir to James Heriot of Trabroune, 
great-grandfather, is returned in the third part of the lands 
of Collielaw, in the .bailiary of Lauderdale * We have no 
doubt that the " Trabroune " mentioned here is the Lauder- 
dale Trabroun, the ancient " Treuerburn " icir. 11 70) of the 
Dryburgh Charters. And in reference to this, it has been 
to us a matter of astonishment to find how many of the 
places in Lauderdale have their twin-name in Haddington- 
shire and Midlothian — Carfrae, Oxton, Trabroun, Howden, 
Bowerhouse, Mountmill, and Hartside being among the 
examples from this parish. Which was the earlier in history 
it might be hard to say. Perhaps the fact of the same 
proprietor holding lands in both districts might account 
for the similarity of names, though the real meaning for 
some of the places may lie deeper, viz., in the occupation 
of the territory by people speaking the same language, as 
in the case of the Ottadini, who were Brythonic Celts, or 
Welsh, and were spread over all our eastern seaboard in 
the second century. The Celtic names, at least, might be 
accounted for on this hypothesis. We lean to the view that 
the Lauderdale names are the older. 

The subsequent notices of Collielaw in the seventeenth 
* Retours. 


century are in connection with the Kers of Morriston, who 
held some of the farms and a large share of the teinds of 
this parish. There is a sasine in favour of Mark Ker of 
Morriston, about 1670, of his lands of Ginglekirk.* These 
lands seem to have been Collilaw and Bourhouse, as in 
1676, after his decease, his son, Andrew Ker of Morriston, 
is seised in these properties, with the parish teinds, as heir 
of his father, " Master Marc Ker." f John Ker of Morriston, 
heir of his brother Andrew, has the same lands and teinds 
secured to him in 1687.I The Ker proprietary in the above 
is carried still further with Andrew Ker of Morriston, who 
is served on 30th August 1692 as lineal and male heir of 
John Ker of Morriston, his father, in the lands of *' Colzielaw 
and Bouchhous, in the parish of Channelkirk, with tithes 
and annuities," etc. Regarding the last-mentioned date, 
perhaps the whole of Collielaw did not become the property 
of Andrew Ker, for in the minister's note-book (Rev. D. 
Scott's) there is a locality of stipend for 1691, which has 
the following : — " The 3rd part of Collielaw, belonging to 
Broun of Coalstoun " (near Haddington), and so much 
seems to have been severed from the Morrieston posses- 
sions. The Brouns of Coalston were a very old family in 
East Lothian, many members of which attained to distinc- 
tion in law. 

From the Kers of Morriston, Collielaw passed next into 
the possession of Charles Binning, Solicitor, of Pilmuir.§ 
On 27th February 1722, Pilmuir lands are erected by 
charter of novodainus into the barony of Pilmuir. On the 
same date Collielaw and Bowerhouse become part of this 
barony, and sasine of the same is given to Binning, 28th 

* Sasines. t Retours. 

+ Ibid. § Acts and Decreets^ vol. 597. 


August 1723.* The lands and teinds of Collielaw were 
disponed to him by Ker of Morrieston. 

The name of Binning brings us into contact with the 
house of Binning and Byres, and the creation of the 
Earldom of Haddington. The Gowrie conspiracy, in 1600, 
gave John Ramsay the favour of King James VI. for saving 
his life on that occasion. He was created Viscount Had- 
dington, and on 28th August 1609, he received all the 
lands and baronies which belonged to Melrose Abbey, with 
certain exceptions. He was created Lord Ramsay of 
Melrose, 25th August 161 5, but afterwards resigned it to 
his brother. Sir George of Dalhousie, who with the King's 
permission changed it for the title of Lord Ramsay of 
Dalhousie. Lord John was afterwards created Earl of 
Holderness, in England, and seems to have disposed of 
the possessions attached to the Melrose title at the same 
time that he abandoned the title itself to Lord Dalhousie. 
At any rate, all the lands and baronies belonging to Melrose 
Abbey were granted, in 16 18, to Sir Thomas Hamilton of 
Priestfield, who, in 161 3, had been already created Lord 
Binning and Byres, and was in 1619 created Earl of Melrose. 
When Lord John, Earl of Holderness, died in 1625, without 
issue. Lord Melrose secured the suppression of his own 
title, and of his being created Earl of Haddington instead, 
on 27th August 1627. He was King's Advocate, Lord Clerk 
Register, Secretary of State, Lord President of the Court 
of Session, and Keeper of the Privy Seal, prior to his 
death in 1637. 

The family of Binning do not appear to have enjoyed 
Collielaw for any length of time, as we find that on 28th 
May 1724, Charles grants a feu-charter in favour of James 
* Sasines, 28th August 1723. 


Fairgrieve, in which he conveys to him, " All and Haill these 
parts and portions of the barony of Pilmuir called the lands 
of Collielaw, with tower, fortalice, manor place, and haill 
pertinents thereff, lying within the barony of Pilmuir parish 
of Channelkirk, bailiary of Lauderdale, and sheriffdom of 
Berwick, with All and Haill the teinds of the lands of 
Collielaw." * 

James Fairgrieve was one of that hardy class of plough- 
men-farmers who from small beginnings rise, by diligence and 
Scotch " hainin'," to possess, as lords and masters, the broad 
acres over which in their youth they may have wandered as 
herd-boys. His father was tenant in Threeburnford, in those 
days, for thirty years, and James, after he had guddled his 
trout as a boy in " Airhouse Water," and in his youth had 
laid the old man's head in Channelkirk churchyard, was tenant 
in his father's room for forty years more. He then resided 
in " Nether Heartside," where he farmed a short time till he 
went to live in Collielaw, which he had purchased, and where 
he spent twenty years, finally ending his days as a residenter 
in Lauder. 

The description given of Collielaw in his title deeds show 
it as quite a lordly dwelling, with a certain mediaeval dignity 
surrounding it, suggestive of stirring days when fire and 
force had to be calculated in the architecture of a habitation. 
The modern indifference to the venerable relics of bygone 
days in Lauderdale was yet in its inceptive stage, and 
Collielaw stood clothed in its ancient distinction and 
strength — proud, doubtless, of its past associations, but not 
without forebodings surely of its coming dissolution. For 
with the entrance of a peasant proprietary, there unfortun- 

* Decreet of Locality^ 98-99; and Teind Court Papers, November 18, 
1819 ; and " Wideopen Common Case," in Acts and Decreets, vol. 597. 


ately also came with it a lack of sympathy for traditions 
to which it was alien ; and the industrial awakening of 
that age began to clamour for reform in cultivating and 
clearing of land, as loudly as ever sounded in former days 
the call for reform in morality. The same results ensued 
in both cases. Much was swept away which was worth 
more to any countryside than an extension of acres, and 
which never can be replaced, though it may be lamented. 
It humbly appears that the ties that bind us to the past 
should never be broken, even though the past be a bad one, 
for we require to be warned as well as encouraged, and if it 
be permitted to men to build their dykes and cowsheds out 
of old castle walls and habitations, hoary with venerable 
eild, it is also conceivable that the time might come when 
the same race would find it profitable to clear out the 
gravestones of their forefathers, in order to have more 
ground in which to plant their turnips. This unthinking 
commercial spirit was largely responsible for the rude 
ecclesiastical structures which were called churches in the 
last century. 

About 1729 there was a tenant in Collielaw called 
Archibald Smith, who seems to have had independent views 
regarding his rights on Wideopen Common. William Murray 
held both farms of Eastertown and Threeburnford — the bad 
system of " led " farms not being quite new in Lauderdale, 
evidently— and sent his sheep of both farms to browse on 
the common at will. Markets were dull, and there was no 
demand for sheep, and William wished to keep them there 
till matters mended. But Smith thought he was scourging 
the Common at the general expense, and turned Murray's 
sheep off with much heat and determination. Murray suc- 
cumbed so far as to beg Smith to permit them to go on the 


Common for a few weeks, as a favour, but Smith was in- 
exorable and would not grant it. Murray thought that he 
was treated " very unneighbourly," and an ardent tailor in 
Pilmuir, aged seventy-five, in speaking of the occurrence, 
characterised it as a " squabble," and declared that " the 
voice of the country " considered Smith's conduct " robbery." 
Smith was James Fairgrieve's brother-in-law, and lived 
" under the same roof with him at Collielaw." The Common 
was the cause of much hot blood, and ultimately had to be 
taken in hand by the courts of law.* 

On the 29th of July 1757 James Fairgrieve " of Collielaw, 
now indweller in Lauder," conveyed by disposition the lands 
of Collielaw to George Adinston of Carcant, sasine of which 
was granted on the 4th November of the same year.f Mrs 
Elizabeth Catherine and Isobell Binning are granted sasine 
of Collielaw on 26th October 1761. On 27th September 1770, 
William Riddell, W.S., receives the same in liferent, and 
Lord Marchmont in fee. But on the nth of May 1765, 
Elizabeth Binning, relict of Andrew Buchanan of Drumpellier, 
Katherine Binning, and David Inglis, merchant in Edin- 
burgh, and treasurer to the Bank of Scotland, her husband, 
and Isobell Binning, daughters of Charles Binning of Pilmuir, 
advocate, dispone finally all their rights in Collielaw to 
George Adinston of Carcant, who conveys these lands once 
more to Thomas, his son, on the 2nd July 1783, by dis- 
position and assignation. The said Thomas Adinston, of 
Carcant, passes them by the same process, 17th December 
1 8 10, to the trustees of the Scottish Episcopal Fund, 
and on Charter of Resignation by the trustee upon the 
lordship and estate of Marchmont, 8th February 181 1. 

* " Wideopen Common Case," Acfs and Decreets, 
t Sasines. 


The Binnings are still said to be Superiors of Collielaw in 

These trustees of the Scottish Episcopal Fund were the 
Hon. James Clerk Rattray, one of the Barons of Exchequer 
in Scotland ; Sir William Forbes of Pitsligo, Bart. ; Sir John 
Hope of Craighall, Bart. ; Colin M'Kenzie, John Hay Forbes, 
and Adam Duff, Esquires ; and Dr Thomas Spens, 

In the Decreet of Locality f of Channelkirk stipend, it is 
said that the Episcopal congregation of St John's, Edinburgh, 
are possessed of Collielaw in 18 14. This church was built 
by subscriptions from many prominent Episcopalians in the 
year 1817, and as most of the gentlemen named above were 
original contributors to the Building Fund, the "Trustees 'of 
the Scottish Episcopal Fund " may have been confused in 
the Decreet with the " Episcopal Congregation of St John's." 
On the 31st December 18 19 these trustees were before the 
Court of Teinds with a petition anent Collielaw Teinds, 
which had been troublesome since the days of Charles 
Binning, and it is therein stated that " the petitioners, who 
now hold the lands of Collielaw as trustees for a charitable 
purpose (having recently purchased them for behoof of that 
charity)." This " charitable purpose " may hint at the 
" Episcopal Fund " or the " Episcopal Congregation." It is 
not quite clear. As these trustees died, however, we find 
that the succeeding trustees were also seised in the same 
lands and teinds of Collielaw, on disposition by the surviving 
trustees, as late as 21st March and 24th December of the 
year 1839. In 1852 Collielaw is in the hands of the Earl of 
Lauderdale, and he still retains it. 

As it stands at the present day, Collielaw is a farm of 
530 acres, of varied soil from stiff clay to loamy, becoming 
* Decreet of Locality, p. 100. t Page 354. 


more stony and coarse as it rises towards the law. At its 
lowest levels it is slightly moorish in nature. The approaches 
to it are all good, as are also the field roads, which are kept 
up by the tenant. Its yearly rent or valuation is £'^6i, i is. 6d., 
with id. of feu-duty and ground-annual. The rotation of 
crops is generally the "five-shift," but there is no hard 
and fast rule. Usually there are about 212 acres in grass, 
rather more than less, 106 in turnips, and about the same in 
crop as in grass. The buildings of the steading cannot be 
called satisfactory as the present standard of farming is calcu- 
lated. They would be greatly improved by being covered 
over for cattle feeding. The water-supply is abundant for all 
purposes, and drainage fairly good. There are somewhat 
over 400 ewes on the farm. The markets are those attended 
by nearly all Lauderdale farmers, and are satisfactory in their 
methods. The new binders which are general in the dale 
are in use here, and other new cultivators, such as grubbers, 
have been introduced within recent years. The wages are 
those prevalent in the district, and are not so high as those 
further down country, as, for example, in Roxburghshire. 
The smith work on the farm, and over all the parish, 
is charged at lod. a shoe, or ^3, 15s. a year for keeping up 
the requirements of a pair of horses. Joiners are on " penny 
pay," that is, they are paid as work is done. The souls on 
the farm number twenty-three in all. 

Collielaw was farmed at the opening of this century by a 
Mr Dobson. He was succeeded by Robert Hedderwick, of 
whom a good story is told. The Road Trustees asked him to 
take charge of the money allotted for the expenses of the 
upkeep of the roads in the parish, and were disgusted to find 
that he had spent it all on the road that leads from the 
Lauder Road to Collielaw. The Trustees declared that as 

2 I 


not an honest man could be found in the parish to deal fairly 
with this matter, they would give the money next to Rev. 
John Brown, the minister. He would surely deal justly with 
all the parish roads. But Mr Brown expended the year's 
allowance allotted to him on the road leading from Braefoot 
to the Manse ! Perhaps it is the least used road for carts in 
the whole parish. It was once ill, twice worse. 

Mr Stewart succeeded Mr Hedderwick, then his son 
Charles Stewart. 

The present tenant is Andrew Thomson, Esq. of Main- 
hill, St Boswell's. He entered on Whitsunday 1881, for a 
lease of nineteen years. His son, George J. Thomson, Esq., 
resides on the farm all the year, and he himself and family 
during the autumn months. He is a staunch friend to the 
Church of Scotland, a characteristic which is traditional in 
the family, and far from being unknown in Channelkirk 

For general advantage and beauty of situation, Collielaw 
is perhaps inferior to no place in the valley. Lauderdale 
is here at its broadest, and its undulating and spacious 
holms along the Leader and Whelplaw Waters, with the 
hills beyond Adinston and Longcroft rising in the distance, 
form a pastoral scene of surpassing grace and loveliness. No 
barren scar in glen or hillside breaks the soft impressiveness 
of extended meadows and sunny correis ; and the wandering 
sheep, browsing more than a thousand feet above sea-level, 
or the fisher slowly following the windings of the stream, 
together with the solitary form of some shepherd, or toiling 
plough, blend pleasantly with the Arcadian aspect and quiet 
serenity of the dale. Nor are the industrial amenities of 
Collielaw to remain behind the picturesque ; for a few 
months will probably see the locomotive rushing past its 


approaches, lending the blessings of travelling and trading 
convenience to the charms of bountiful nature. One regret 
will nevertheless remain with us, amid all that is here 
changeless and changing, viz., that the " Auld House o' 
Collielaw is awa'." 


AlRHOUSE — Aroives, Arwys, Arus, Arrois, Arras, Aruts. 

The Name— Adam del Airwis — Strife at Arrois in 1476 — The Hop- 
pringles — The Heriots of Arrois — The Somervilles of Airhouse, 1654 
— "Arras, now called Airhouse," 1773 — Kirk-Session Squabbles — 
Gloomy Days at Airhouse — Lord Lauderdale — Situation and Area of 
Airhouse — Tenants — Parkfoot — Tenants. 

No place in this parish has perplexed the writer more 
than Airhouse, both as regards its name and its early 
history. From its superior station and surroundings, its 
general air of reserve and respectability, its advantages 
for ancient methods of defence and modern cultivation, 
one would expect its annals to be full and clear, and the 
difficulty of tracing its genesis a minimum task. The 
contrary of this is the case. Its name is puzzling, and it 
has not been possible for us to get light upon its early 
days further than the beginning of the fourteenth century. 

The name " Airhouse " is a grandiosity of modern times, 
and is a vulgar expansion of an ancient appellation which 
is both more eye-sweet and etymologically interesting. It 
seems to have come into general use about the beginning 
of the seventeenth century. 

In 1328 it comes under our notice first as "Airwis" 
and " Aroves " ; in 1329, as " Arowes " ; in 1330 as " Arwys " 


and "Arovves"; in 1331 and 1332-3 it is " Arus." In 15 10 
we have "Arous;" in 1627 it is first styled " Airhouse." 
On Font's map, 1608, it is called " Arrowes," and on Moll's 
map of 1725, it is still spelt in the same way. 

From the contiguity of the three places, Airhouse, 
Collielaw, and Bowerhouse, and the fact that they all lie 
on the west side of the Leader, and might in very ancient 
times have been possessed by one tribe, we were tempted 
to seek a solution of the name in suggestions evoked by 
reading Dr Skene's description of the Irish Tuath* or 
tribe, where " Aire tuise " is a grade of rank in the tribe ; 
" Boaire " being another, and " Ceile " another. It does 
not appear, however, that the Irish ever settled in 
Berwickshire to an extent such as might justify us in 
seeking for an explanation along that path. There are 
several suggestions, indeed, of an Irish connection with 
Lauderdale in early times. Lauder system of agriculture, 
for example, known as "co-aration of the waste," was the 
same as that in existence at Kells,-f- where St Cuthbert 
is said to have been born. The Irish story of St Cuthbert 
brings him to the Lothians to his kinsfolk. In the days 
of King Oswald, ruler of Northumbria, of which Lauder- 
dale was a district, Bede tells us " From that time (635 A.D.) 
many of the Scots (Irish) came daily into Britain, and, 
with great devotion, preached the word to those provinces 
of the English over which King Oswald reigned. J The 
Irish chiefs, and Irish led by Norsemen, repeatedly raided 
Berwickshire. Aed, son of Neil, King of Ireland, about 
879 A.D., brought the whole of Bernicia (and therefore 

* Celtic Scotland, vol. iii., pp. 142-148. 
+ Gomme's Village Coinniunity, p. 153. 
+ Ecclesiastical History, vol. iii., p. 3. 


Berwickshire) under subjection to himself. * Notwith- 
standing these historical facts, it is just possible that the 
name of Airhouse may possess an etymological lineage 
not dissimilar to the derivation of the name of Lauder- 
dale. As a name, Lauderdale is admittedly derived from 
the Water of Leader, and so also may Airhouse be de- 
rived from Arras Water. This water is now called Mount- 
mill Burn, but originally, and down to 1762 at least, 
it was named " Arras Water." In its course it encircles 
Airhouse braes and woods in the form of a reaper's hook, 
if we take the point to lie at Threeburnford, and the 
handle to extend from the bridge at old Peasmountford 
down to Nether Howden. Yet it seems quite possible 
also that instead of the water giving its name to the 
house, the house may have given its name to the water. 
The two views seem to be supported by the following 
authorities : — 

"The widely diffused root Ar causes much perplexity. 
The Avar, as Caesar says, flows incredibili lenitate, while, as 
Coleridge tells us, 'the Arve and Arveiron rave cease- 
lessly.' We find, however, on the one hand a Welsh 
word Araf, gentle, and an obsolete Gaelic ward Ar, slow, 
and on the other we have a Celtic word, Arw, violent, and 
a Sanskrit root Arb, to ravage, or destroy. 

" From one or other of these roots, according to the 
character of the river, we may derive the names of Arw 
in Monmouth, the Are and Aire in Yorkshire, the Ayr 
in Cardigan and Ayrshire, the Arre in Cornwall, the Arro 
in Warwick, the Arrow in Hereford and Sligo, the Aray, 
in Argyll, the Ara-glin and the Aragadeen in Cork, etc." f 

* Celtic Scotland, vol. i., p. 331. 

t Rev. Isaac Taylor's Words and Places. 


Both significations of gentle and violent can be applied 
to " Arras " Water, according to the season of the year ; 
and in ancient days, when it first received its name, its 
character of violence, from the present-day evidence of 
its inroads on the hillsides, must have been amply 

The other choice we have is from Macbain's Gaelic 
Dictionary — " Welsh spelling of Aros is Arazus, connect- 
ing it with rest." There is an Aros in Mull, and we are 
informed by Gaelic-speaking scholars that Aruys, which 
Airhouse is sometimes called, is a very likely spelling for 
Aros, which means a dwelling, a mansion. Arisaig, for 
example, may mean Aros-eig, the house, or port, of Eig. 

That it may be either Welsh or Gaelic in spelling, 
either Araws or Aros, is quite possible from the close 
connection which Lauderdale maintained for generations 
with Galloway, a Welsh-speaking district. Also, as the 
Irish or Scots frequently invaded the south of Scotland 
by way of Galloway, there were many opportunities for 
Gaelic names to find a home in Lauderdale. Gille/alyn, 
for example, is an inhabitant of Oxton in the I2th century, 
and his name is Gaelic ; KelpJiope is from the Gaelic 
Cailpeach ; Carfrae may be either Welsh or Gaelic ; and 
Glengelt may not possibly be wholly Gaelic, although the 
Glen in it seems correctly denominated so. But as the 
Ottadini, the oldest historical inhabitants of Berwick- 
shire, were claimed as Brythons, or kinsmen of the Welsh, 
the name of Airhouse in its Welsh spelling may easily 
find a home in that language, and, at least, date as far 
back as the second century. 

It is in 1328 A.D. that we stumble on the first reference 
to Airhouse. Great changes had been effected, not only in 


the country in general, but in Lauderdale in particular. 
The De Morvilles had passed away, the Earls of Galloway 
had lost their hold on the dale through John de Balliol, 
whose high royal hopes had been dashed before the all- 
conquering arm of Robert the Bruce. About the time 
when the mists lift from Airhouse, Bruce was bestowing 
upon his faithful followers all the lands and emoluments 
which had fallen to him as King of Scotland. The 
Douglases received Lauderdale, and long were Lords of 
that Regality. It will be observed that " Adam of Airwis," 
in the following, is in receipt of an annual ten pound grant 
from the King, no doubt for noble service, and draws it 
direct from the customs of Berwick. He is also mentioned 
in the high company of " Robert of Lauderdale, Guardian 
of the Merse and the Camp of Berwick, and Sheriff of 
the same," and we are warranted in supposing that he was 
a man of considerable name and influence, and that the 
King had honoured and rewarded him in this way. 

The following are the several references*: — "1328 A.D., 
and to Adam of Airwis, for his fee, at the said term 
(Pentecost), 100 shillings." 

" And to Adam of Aroves, at the term of Martinmas, 
after the time of the account, 100 shillings; and to the 
same in supplement of the payment made to him at the 
term of Pentecost of this account, xx shillings." 

"A.D. 1329. — The accounts of the bailiffs and tax col- 
lectors of Berwick . . . and from the Chamberlain by receipt 
from Adam of Arowes, at his order, 20 shillings, for which 
the Chamberlain will answer." 

" And to Adam of Arowes, receiving annually ten pounds 
{decern libras) from the grant of the King, by charter out 

* Exchequer Rolls. 


of the forementioned custom, and as far as shall have 
been provided for him from another source at the last 
term of this account, and not more than this at the said 
term, because twenty shillings {viginti solidi) of a re- 
mainder will be divided in the account of the Lord 
Chamberlain. The sum of this expense is viii'^ xlij li. iij s. 
iij d. q. (;^842, 3s. 3id.)." 

" And to Adam of Arwys, receiving annually ten pounds, 
according to the grant of the King, by charter, at the 
first term of this account, lOO shillings ; and to Dominus 
Robert of Lauderdale, as part of his fee, one hundred merks 
for his guardianship of the Merse, and of the Castle of 
Berwick, and of the Sheriffdom of the same at the first 
term of this account." 

"A.D. 1331. — And to Adam of Arus, for his fee, at the 
two terms of this account, ten pounds ; and to the Chamber- 
lain acknowledging receipt, an account besides of xiiij li. 
xixs. ixd. q. (;£"i4, 19s. 9id.)." 

" I Feb. 1334. — Robert de la Tang acknowledges having 
received by the hands of the Abbot and Convent of Scone, 
;^20 sterling, in which they were indebted to Adam de la 
Arus by a certain obligation, of which ;^20, as attorney of 
the said Adam and his spouse, he holds himself well satis- 
fied, and discharges the said Abbot and Convent. Attested 
by the seals of John Gye, burgess of Perth, and of the 
granter [both wanting], given at Perth on Monday next 
preceding the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin 
Mary [Feb. i]. In the year of grace 1333 [34]."* 

This last charter sustains the view that the proprietor 
of Airhouse was a person of some dignity and importance. 

♦ Original Charters, Register House, Edinburgh ; also, Liber de Scona, 
No. 164. 


We are not to be surprised that we find him connected 
with people so far removed from Lauderdale as Scone. 
There is just the bare possibility that the " Arus " here might 
be the " Aros " of Mull. But it is highly improbable. More- 
over, so far as communication is concerned, when we con- 
sider the wealth and Court influence of the man, his favour 
with King Robert, and the metropolitan and court status 
of Perth during that period, it will be conceded that for 
Adam of Airhouse to have made his services obligatory 
to the Abbot of Scone by a loan of money or otherwise, is 
not a very remote contingency, considering the unsettled 
nature of the times. We learn here that Adam was 
married. In the Exchequer Rolls there is a notice which 
seems to confirm this : " A.D. 1332. — Et gardropario, Katerine 
del Fawsid et Alicie del Aruys, pro feodo suo, de mandato 
custodis, per literam, xxx s," — " And to the keeper of the 
wardrobe, Katherine of Fawsid, and to Alice of Aruys, for 
fee, by order of the Warden, by letter, 30s." 

Alice may have been his wife or daughter. There is no 
doubt that she must have been officially engaged in honour- 
able service at Court. A curious thing is observable in the 
language of these last two notices. The French turn is quite 
apparent, " Adam de la Arus," " Alicie del Aruys." The 
French influence at this time was prevalent in Scotland. 
For just a few years before the above date, the Scotch and 
French had concluded a treaty in which one of the clauses 
made good that, " Any peace between France and England 
ceases if there is war between England and Scotland, and so 
of any peace between England and Scotland should there be 
war between France and England."* England was the 
common enemy to the French and the Scotch, and before 
* History of Scotland^ J. H. Burton, vol ii., p. 297. 


Bruce's time of royal successes, Wallace is reputed to have 
gone to France to seek help from that quarter after the 
disaster of Falkirk. The French de la Arus also clears up 
another point with regard to the meaning of " Airhouse," 
which the Latin, with its lack of the article, fails to do. The 
proprietor is "Adam of The Arus" a phrase which in the 
popular speech of the district one sometimes hears to-day. 
This would point to the meaning given in the Gaelic " Aros," 
" The House " as the original one. 

With reference to " Katerine of Fawsid " being associated 
with " Alice of Aruys " in the King's service, we take this 
to confirm the evident identity of our Airhouse with the 
" Arus " of the Exchequer Rolls, for " Fawside," as we surmise, 
is the " Fallside " of the parish of Tranent. Moreover, that 
they were both paid out of the customs of Berwick seems to 
prove that the place was in Berwickshire ; moreover, " Robert 
de Fausid " is a witness in a charter given by Allan of Hart-' 
side to Sir Alexander de Seton of land in Oxton territory in 
1327, exactly about the same time as these references ; show- 
ing that the landed proprietors of " Fausid," " Arus," and 
" Hertesheued " were in the habit of companying with each 
other, and aiding each other in their business affairs.* 

Perhaps " Ade de la Arus " was of French extraction 
himself. The name "Ade" does not help us, however, as 
it appears to be merely the diminutive of Adam, and the 
French expressions in the charters may have resulted from 
some French monk's method of writing them. 

We have been unable to find any trace of Airhouse in 
the charters of the religious houses ; that is, of Dryburgh, 
Melrose, Kelso, St Andrews, Dunfermline, Holyrood, etc., 
with the exception of the above reference in the Book of 
Scone. All remains, therefore, in profound darkness, re- 
* Original Charters. 


said to be bounded on the south by Wgstoun, and on the 
west by " lie Arrous." * Here once more we meet with the 
French form (Scotticised) of " TJie Arrous," " the House." 
" Joneta Heriot of Aras " is heir of Thomas Heriot of Aras, 
her grandfather, in 1610. -f- Jonet or Janet Hereot was 
daughter to "the late James Hereot of Trabroun," as we 
learn from a sasine of date nth July 1583, and was married 
to John Borthwick, eldest son of Francis Borthwick and 
Margaret Congleton of Ballincrief :|: In 1627 we have the 
first mention of the form " Airhouse " from the Rev. Henry 
Cockburn, minister at Channelkirk. In his report of his 
church he says : — " Airhouse is in stok eight scoir merkis ; 
personage, 20 lib. ; viccarage, 20 lib." Perhaps he was the 
inventor of the expanded form of the name. Hillhouse and 
Bourhouse in the parish might suggest " Airhouse " as the 
correct spelling — these names being always pronounced 
"Hillus" " Boorus," in a manner similar to "Arus, In 
1631-32 we find this note in the Decreet of Locality: "The 
Lord Humbie — his lands of Airhouse possessed by the Lady 
(Trabroun)." She is said to " possess " the lands of Over 
Howden in winter, although Lord Humbie owns them. In 
1676, "Andreas Ker de Moriestoune," heir of Mark Ker, his 
father, draws half the teinds of " Aruts" in this parish.§ As 
if to make sure of the place, it is twice mentioned, first as 
" Aruts," then as " Arids." Of course this right of teinds 
descended from Lord Cardross, though in 1692 we find that 
it had passed out of the Kers' hands. It was then in pos- 
session of James Nicolson of Trabroun, who in 1693 "bound 
and obliged himself, his heirs and successors, to warrant, 
free, relieve, and skaithless keep the said George Somerville 

* Great Seal. t Retours. 

:|: Calendar of Laing Charters. § Retours. 


(of Airhouse) and Marion Wadderston his spouse, and their 
foresaids, from all payment of any teinds payable out of the 
said lands" of Airhouse.* 

This reference to the " Somervilles of Airhouse," the 
designation by which they are always quoted in the parish 
to this day, leads to a brief account of that family in 
this place. In 1490 we find John Somerville, Gilbert Somer- 
ville, and Thomas Somerville, " tenants " in Glengelt.i* These 
probably were the ancestors of the Somervilles, who, in 
later times, were tenants in, or proprietors of, so many 
farms in Upper Lauderdale. 

The first historical notice which we find of the modern 
Somervilles is of George Somerville, tenant in Carfrae, 
who, together with his wife M. (or B.) Watterstone, received 
from James Nicolson, of Trabroun, certain rights to Wideopen 
Common on 19th May 1629. Nothing more appears to be 
known of George except that he died in 1642, still tenant 
in Carfrae, and was buried in Channelkirk churchyard. 

There is mention of Adam Somerville in the Kirk 
Records as " deacon " in Channelkirk Church. He keeps 
the poor's money in 1650, he is called an elder in 1656, 
and on November 25, 1661, he "desired the Session 
might choose another deacon to keep the box. The Session 
made choice for a year of James Somerville in Hetcha 
(Headshaw) to keep the box." This arrangement seems 
to derive from the following council — " The electioun of 
Elderis and Deaconis aught to be used everie yeare once, 
least that by long continuance of suche officiaris, men 
presume upoun the libertie of the Churche."^ This is 
the earliest direct evidence of that respect and trust which 

* Decreet of Locality, p. 186. t Acta Doininorum Concilii. 

X The Biike of Discipline (Knox's Works\ vol. ii. 


the people in the parish have accorded unstintedly to the 
Somerville name for three hundred years. At this early 
time George Somerville is in Carfrae, James Somerville in 
Headshaw, and " William Somerville in Glengelt." * When 
Airhouse comes into their hands about 1693, they completely 
hold the most northern district of the whole valley of 
the Leader. A family fit to " possess the land " evidently, 
and loyally accepting all the burdens and responsibilities of 
their position, both in church and farm. Would that their 
honourable example had been more generally followed ! 

James Somerville, son of the above George, became 
tenant in Carfrae after his father's death. He was born 
in 161 1, and died in 1698, aged 87 years. About 1693, 
successful negotiations regarding the purchasing of Airhouse 
were effected between the Somervilles and James Nicolson 
of Trabroun, and we find James's son, George Somerville, 
installed then as resident proprietor there. Airhouse was 
at that time part of the Barony of Trabroun. 

This George Somerville, apparently the first " Somerville 
of Airhouse," was born 1654, and died 1741, on the 3rd 
of April, aged 87. His wife, Marion Watterstone, pre- 
deceased him on November 1737, aged 6^. It was during 
his time that the five years' dispute took place regarding 
the election of a minister to the parish church, and he 
seems to have taken a keen interest in the matter. He 
was an elder, and appeared at Earlston Presbytery on 
July 15, 1697, along with another, "desiring a hearing of 
some young men in order to a call."-f- On 22nd August, 
1700, three years later, we find him petitioning the Presbytery 
for more elders to Channelkirk. He is again at Presbytery 
" reporting " on 26th December 1700, and on September 
* Kirk Records. f Presbytery Records. 


25, 1 70 1, he is mentioned along with "Alex. Somerville " 
as a heritor entitled to vote for a minister, the elections 
then being limited to heritors and elders. He is evidently 
disagreeably shocked at not having "carried his man," for 
on September 3, 1702, he appears with many others 
to offer objections to the minister's appointment, and 
solemnly tables a paper " intituled The Reasons of a 
Protestation against the ordaining of Mr Henry Home 
Minister at Channelkirk ; " which, as usual, the Presbytery 
considered as containing " nothing of moment," and pro- 
ceeded to ordain. 

There appears to have been another George Somerville 
at this time in Heriotshall, for John Murray, Ouplaw 
(Wooplaw), gets Heriotshall, 2nd September 1727, from 
Alexander Somerville, mariner in Chatham, son of Alexander 
Somerville, writer in Edinburgh, deceased, who was eldest 
son of the deceased George Somerville of Heriotshall, and 
Alison Bathgate.* 

On 30th October 17 14 the George Somerville mentioned 
above as elder and " protester " " grants disposition of the 
said lands of Airhouse and Commonty Rights to James 
Somerville, then eldest son,"t and the said James is found 
also in 1739 to have purchased "those parts of Ugston 
Lands on the west side of the highway from Peasemountford 
to Lauder Burgh, formerly sold by Thomas Mathie to 
James Somerville, younger of Airhouse, with part of 
Glengelt Moss belonging to Ugston, and divided between 
Thomas Mathie and James Somerville." At the date 17 14, 
when he receives Airhouse, he is said to be "tenant in 
Carthrae." :|: He was bereaved of his wife, Margaret 

* Ac/s and Decreets, vol. 597. Mack. f Ibid. 

X Sasines. 

2 K 



Adinstone, in the spring of 1738, and his young son George 
in the spring of 1741, aged 22. He himself survived till 
1 6th May 1758, when his bones were also laid in Channelkirk 
graveyard, at the age of 72. His daughter Agnes followed 
him in 1761, aged 45, after having afflicted his heart 
and family honour by standing twice on the repentant 
stool for a woman's weakness* The " rebukes " which 
she received must have been cruel to her nearest relatives, 
who were in authority, for " the minister ordered the officer 
to call James and George Somervail, elders, to meet at 
the manse upon the 4th instant." They had been staying 
away, doubtless, out of shame, poor men. The best loved 
child often deals the keenest blows to a parent's heart. The 
family tombstone says she died November 26, 1761, but 
the notice of her burial is given in the Kirk Records under 
31st January 1762. 

It was in 1733 that this James Somerville bought from the 
Thomas Mathie mentioned above, and who was a " merchant 
in Cockenzie," " those parts and portions of the lands of 
Ugston called Pickleraw, the Forty-shilling Lands, and 
Temple Lands with commonty rights, which seem to have 
been sold again to Mr Justice of Justicehall in i739.t In 
1742 we find "James Somervail of Airhouse and Oxton 
Mains " attending a heritors' meeting to assist in appor- 
tioning among themselves the burden of the schoolmaster's 
salary.j He took a warm interest in all that concerned 
the well-being of the parish, and was always at his post 
whether in kirk or market. He is regular at all the Kirk- 
Session meetings till the time of his death, old man 
though he was, and had the most trying road in the 

* Kirk Records. f Acts and Decreets, vol. 597. 

t Kirk Records. 


parish, perhaps, to be encountered every time he attended. 
He is sent to represent the church at the Synod of Dunse, 
April 1753, and seems to have been competent for all his 
duties up till a very short time before his death. Just 
before the entry under 4th June 1758, there is the 
customary notice in such cases, " Mortcloth money for 
James Somervail of Airhouse, £^, 12s," He was sur- 
vived by his second wife, Elizabeth Allan, forty-three 
years, she having lived till 19th July 1801, dying at the 
age of eighty. 

The Somervilles in evidence after this date are " George 
Somerville in Carfrae," elder and treasurer in the church ; 
George Somerville, tenant in Hartsyde^ who in 1754 is 
painfully prominent in the Records as having been re- 
buked from his seat, and " paying his penalty " for the 
well-known sin ; and James Somerville of Headshaw. 

James Somerville's son, George, was in his ninth year 
when his father died, he having first seen the world in 
1749, and by-and-by, about 1764, when he is a stripling 
of fifteen, we find him designated " George Somerville of 
Airhouse." He appears to have married in September 
1773. It is on 27th September of 1773 that sasine was 
granted to John Pringle of Haining in liferent, and 
Robert Scott of Trabroun in fee, " of All and Haill the lands 
of Arras, now called Airhouse," etc. This does not imply, 
of course, that the Somervilles were out of Airhouse. 
The same estate may be the subject of separate fees ; 
the property or dominium utile being vested in one person, 
and the superiority or dominimn directum in another. 
These may also pass from one person to another as 
separate estates. Scott held in fee simple, and was 
Superior ; Pringle had a lifetime interest, and Somerville 


was, it seems, in the place of vassal in Airhouse,* The 
steady support which was given to the church by his 
forbears does not stand out so clearly in his character. 
We surmise that he had been a staunch churchman till 
a new minister came into the parish, and the reverend 
gentleman not being his choice, his love for the kirk had 
cooled and even hardened into something like freezing 
contempt. The system of electing a minister in Presby- 
terian churches is admirably fitted to create such icy 
temperatures in a parish, and there are few parishes in 
Scotland at present but are either undergoing, or not long 
past, or just about to enter their Glacial Period on this 
account. The facts of Somerville's experience are as 
follows: — The Rev. David Scott died i6th April 1792. 
" There was neither minister nor elder in the parish," and 
the heritors met to dispense the poor's money and clear 
up the Kirk-Session accounts. George Somerville of Air- 
house signs the minute as chairman. On 26th December 
of the same year the Rev. Thomas Murray receives a 
" call " to Channelkirk. Presumably he was objectionable 
to many, who stayed away from church out of a feeling 
of discontent. Or, perhaps, the new minister's fiery zeal 
may not have suited the placid Christianity of such quiet 
people. He seems to have smitten the " erring ones " 
hip and thigh ; and he made bare his arm even upon the 
minister of Lauder also. Murray appears to have been 
what Upper Lauderdale people call "an awfu' yin." The 
drunkards and fornicators and church despisers heard 
him and trembled! On 21st January 1798, Mr Murray 
represented to the members of the Session that several 
individuals of the congregation had totally absented them- 
* ?>ee /urtdt'cal Styles, p. 125. 


selves for many months past from public worship without 
assigning any reason for such improper conduct, and that 
on a late occasion the following persons, Mr Somervail of 
Airhouse, Mr Bertram (tenant) of Hartsyde, Mr Douglas 
(tenant) of Kirktounhill, and Mr David Turnbull in Ugston, 
after attending a funeral to the churchyard of Channel- 
kirk at the very hour of public worship, instead of enter- 
ing the church, did, in the face of the congregation, turn 
their back upon it, and retire to Airhouse. Was the like 
ever heard of in any parish ? The Session are unanimously 
of opinion that such conduct was highly indecent and 

It does not appear that "Somervail of Airhouse" or 
his rebellious following grew more Christian in their demean- 
our as the years passed by. They seem to have made 
converts rather, and, as usual, the convert outstripped the 
master in zeal and pious obstinacy. On 24th July 1799 "the 
Session took into consideration the cases of George Somer- 
ville, Esq. of Airhouse, and Robert Hogarth, tenant in 
Carfrae (once famous in this district for his agricultural 
enterprise), and after reasoning on the subject, were unani- 
mously of opinion tha